Fralst! – Swedish Christian Grooves 1969-1979
There’s often some great fodder to be found in the Christian offshoot of genres — from Xian Country to oddly tinged psych-folk from the ‘60s, there’s a lot to be found in the fervent messages mixed with the ‘Devil’s music’. Swedish Free Churches of the late ‘60s and mid-‘70s prove a fertile feeding ground on this compilation from the always excellent Subliminal Sounds. Taking a wide cross-section of genres, the songs assembled on FRÄLST! find a lot of common ground with the other archival offerings from the label. From toasted psych scorch to heady prog, jazz rock, and folk, the collection dives deep into the archives for seldom-heard gems that all find a place under The Light on this comp.
The label went deep in its research, finding private press copies from collectors that weren’t widely distributed, as is the case with many of the Christian pressings. Pinning the gospel hues funk-flexed psych and Swedish Progg might seem like incongruous ideals but the offerings that Subliminal scrounge up push way past the Godspell and Superstar takes on psychedelic faith. The opener from Siw Sjoberg hits as heavy as any ‘70s stomper, Kyrkans Ungdom i Osby skews trad folk, almost bringing up vision of wedding reception festivities. The communal spirit rises through Mobilen’s “Giva och få,” but behind the choir-like vocals a sweaty funk stomp lets its hair down. These are just the kind of rabbit holes I love to tumble down, and Fralst! – Swedish Christian Grooves 1969-1979 takes the algorithm guessing game out of your YouTube deep dive as a perfect primer into unknown Swedish Faith Freakouts. Digital version and LP boast alternate tracklists as well, so there’s lots to explore. This one’s a highlight of ’22 to be sure, rapture you can stick around for.