PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED (in this form)
After the Pangolin album was released and we had played a couple of rare gigs, our drummer Sara Pang decided to leave the band. I won't deny I felt it was a huge loss of ours. She was as important to the Pangolin sound as any of us was, and with her quitting the band, I knew (and I think we all did) that the band wouldn't be quite the same without her.
We soon found a replacement for Sara, and with a new drummer who wanted to be known as M. Aaropavlo we soon set up dates for new recordings. This time we abandoned the DIY approach by hiring producer Jesper Jarold who we knew from fellow Gothenburg band Grovjobb. It was a good idea to bring him in because he did such a great job bringing out the rougher side of Pangolin. After all, "Beneath These Darkened Trees" is far slicker sounding than the band actually was.
The reason for the second Pangolin session was clearly defined: We were to record two tracks for a vinyl single released by the shortlived Chanterelle label, and a third one for the Ptolemaic Terrascope CD "This Is Pot". For the single, we settled on one original and, for the B side, a cover of the Hank Willams penned "Alone & Forsaken".
"Strange Inconveniences". The riff-based song proved perfect for the band setting with Mikael Ljung pounding away at his heaviest. "Alone & Forsaken" shows us from a completely different angle; low-key and lyrical, even adding a dash of accordeon courtesy of organ player Anna Glans. The instrumental coda is almost like a song in itself, with drummer M. Aaropavlo's cut off jazz fills underlining the melancholic drama of the original song. I tried my best to emulate the 60's West Coast guitar sound with my dual solo.
However, all was not well within the band. I'm no longer certain what was actually going on, but personality clashes arose, and I wasn't feeling at all happy being in the band anymore. Problems reached a peak with "The Sea". Once a monolithic inclusion in our live set, it now turned out a monolithic catastrophe. During the Drunkenstein studio sessions, we played the song too fast which took away the tension that the song so badly needed. Besides, the arrangement is an utter mess. Nothing works the way it's supposed to do here, and knowing that this was the track that would give most people the first exposure to Pangolin flat out grieved me. God, I hated the sheer thought of it!
(In an attempt to show what I originally wanted with the song, I have fabricated a much slowed down version, running for two more minutes, which can be downloaded here. I used the slightly better rough mix for this. Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about the arrangement, but by merely correcting the rushed pace, it gets much more evocative in line with what my intentions were.)
You can hear all my frustration in my vocals for "Poisoned River to Her Heart". It's the most furious vocals you will ever hear on any of my recordings. Deep inside, I might have known that this was Pangolin's last stand, and I felt so painfully betrayed by the circumstances. I loved this for chrissakes, and I didn't want it to end this way!
Oddly enough, I consider "Poisoned River to Her Heart" the band's finest recorded moment, every bit as good as "The Sea" was bad. There's a strain of uncontrollable danger within the grooves; I think this song was given our best shot.
Apart from mourning the band's demise, there were other problems with a disintegrating band. We were booked for the Terrastock festival in Seattle, and we had also started working on our second album which was supposed to come out on one of the hippest underground labels at that particular time, Aussie based Camera Obscura. But pushing the band onwards just because of such prestigeous appointments just didn't work. One day, during the recordings, it just broke down. I unplugged my guitar, announced I couldn't keep doing this and that I was leaving the band for good. Mikael Ljung had a very appropriate way of putting it: "Well then, that was it".