apastatementalGothenburg isn't snowed-in for 11 months of the year but I have it on good authority that it gets pretty grey and grim for long chunks of time. It's a nice place but it's no Costa Rica, meteorologically speaking. Plus, beer is expensive. So what can a poor boy do but play in a (punk) rock and roll band? Apa State Mental obviously subscribe to that view - and play their music with enough energy to melt a medium-sized glacier.

This is what the Stooges would have sounded like if they'd started in 1977 and were Swedish. Think bracing bursts of acid-tinged punk rock with slack-stringed bass and flame-thrower guitar. Throw in handclaps on the 53-second "Mocker's Mantra" and you've got yourself a "1969" party. This I like.

If you're into prog rock, look elsewhere. You have to wait until the 19th and final tune ("Shove It") to hear one that clocks in at more than three minutes. Apa State Mental are a Minutemen for the Frozen North, without the rhythmic twists and turns. It's buzzing, scuzzy guitar all the way with catchy barbed wire riffs and smart-dumb singing.

These guys play it simple (example:" "There's a whole lot of monkey going on" is the mantra - and entire lyrical content - of "Monkey") in the same way of New Zealand's Los Hories, only with a more punk edge. Anders Wieslander (bass and songwriting) and drummer Crazy Arms do the business in the engine room.

Guitarist Peter Mattson's does most of the six-stringing and is an ace player (props if that's him on "Monkey") while vocalist Jacob Zetterholm has plenty of character. Punk rock needs more character. He sounds like Dexter from The Offspring on "Shove It" playing in a band that's not lame.

Apa State Mental have a healthy liking for apes (check the label name and the chimpanzee artwork) which can only be a plus.