Loving October

Now-local Swedes rock, hastily perform 'The Lion King,' rock some more

Love in October
Words of Sound
The Musik Group

At the core of Minneapolis's Love in October are two Swedish immigrants with dreams of rock-spectacle success. Indebted to the musical and promotional sensibilities of bands like Quietdrive and OK Go, these new kids in town have spent the past few months building a considerable web following; more than just a rock entity, the group orchestrates a multimedia medley of music, video, theater, and dance. "It's a rock show, so there should definitely be a show involved. We're entertainers," says Erik Widman, founding singer-guitarist-ringleader of the band whose debut EP, Words of Sound, releases this week.

Widman, who emigrated from Sweden to the States for college, formed Love In October in early 2006 with his bass-playing brother (and longtime music partner), Kent Widman. The Swedish school system was partially responsible for the brothers' musical training. "I think the reason Sweden has so much pop music is related to the system of music education over there. People here in the U.S. tend to learn on their own more. American rock music is more rhythmic. Swedish rock is more about chord structure and melody," Erik Widman states matter-of-factly. Keen on the kind of theatrical ecstasy exemplified by bands like Queen, both Widmans gravitate toward a strongly pop-centric aesthetic.

If you spill fops on your couch, you might as well chuck it to the curb
Christina Teichroew
If you spill fops on your couch, you might as well chuck it to the curb

Encouraged by the support other art forms like dance and theater receive here, Erik Widman chose the Twin Cities as the birthplace for Love In October. "There are a lot of different mediums and genres that are accessible in Minneapolis," he points out. Joined by guitarist Nick Pfeifer and drummer Mike Swanson, Love in October take full advantage of the community's interest in intermedia escapades.

Their live shows are highly visual events boasting all sorts of short-attention-span entertainment, incorporating dance routines performed in matching outfits and props like strobe lights and mannequins. They've recently launched segments they call "Intermission Theater," in which the band stops the show and attempts to act out the whole of a Broadway play in less than two minutes. "We've done Cats, The Lion King, Titanic, The Sound of Music—it's pretty fun," Erik Widman gushes. "We've tried choreographing some of it, but it's better if it's improvised, you can play off the crowd and get them involved."

Sharply aware of the potential in building a fan base online, the band has taken its stage act to the web. On their website and their MySpace page, they've posted videos of themselves singing silly songs about holidays, doing choreographed couch dancing to the Black Eyed Peas' "My Humps," and performing awkward sketch comedy, including an absurdist parody of The Dating Game.

Words of Sound is a tight, hook-laden record with enough bounce and pop to connect with the same crowd as Dropping Daylight. Yet Love in October's greatest talent may be their ability to express a goofy personality that establishes intimacy with their audience. For their first real music video, to be shown at their CD-release party, the band chose the disc's standout cut, "A Day in the Life." While the track itself is strong, it's the cinematized spectacle of the song that takes a real shot at the throngs. Eager to sell itself and capable of using every convenient medium to do so, Love in October ham it up on the webcam with hope that their music can ride piggyback.

 
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