Back in the day, in 1999 to be accurate, we got a PC in our house for the first time. Dial up internet, it took about 25 minutes to load a page. I am not going to claim I was an angel, and that I didn’t look at pictures of ladies with no clothes on, but I was/am the world’s biggest geek. I just wanted – mostly – to explore music.
I found an online community that was essentially centred around the Wildhearts, based up in the North East, and through them I found a shit load of Swedish punk n roll (bizarrely it’s got the name “Action Rock” now). The Backyard Babies were my boys, them and The Hellacopters, and I can vouch for the fact that my postman was never off my drive with whatever collectable 7inch I’d spent a fortune on.
But like all geeks I was searching for the bands that sounded like those others. Looking for the next thing because I was bored of the last thing, which meant a few years later – I’d moved from communities to illegal downloading by that point – I found Märvel. They had plenty going for them. They were a trio for one thing. Always fun. They were mysterious for another (masks and names like The Vicar and The King) but crucially, their music was class. Like seriously good. This became even more important a little later when Nicke Andersson put The Hellacopters on hiatus.
All of which preamble is to explain why “Double Decade” is so good, and so essential. I know most of the 23 songs here – but the rarities are fun. Indeed, we’ll start with one of them. I’d not heard their version of the aforementioned Hellacopters “Devil Stole The Beat From The Lord”, but its here and its glorious.
Everything here is essentially glorious. There’s a new track included, “Turn The Page”. There’s a hint of Lizzy about it, the chords are powerful, the harmonies golden like syrup and twice as sweet.
Back in 2015 they did a split single with MV faves Chuck Norris Experiment, and the result was “Motherfucker”, part glam, part garage, part power pop, it is everything that Märvel are about. The last one “These Boots Are Made For Flying” (for which I have no idea where its from) is proof positive as to why “Double Decade” matters. It’s the best, filthiest boogie in their book and most people won’t have heard it.
Indeed, if you haven’t heard Märvel before (and welcome!) then basically just begin at the start. “The Hills Have Eyes” from 2015’s album is the trio in the neatest of nutshells, They have elements of the best in Swedish rock n roll, but a style all of their own.
“Remember” sounds better than ever. This collection has been remastered and it’s crystal clear now. Wonderful that it sounds as good as it should have. Likewise “I Wanna Know You (Just A Little Bit Better)” is a fuzzed up and supercharged as can be. It also sounds like they really don’t want to get to know anyone at all. That said, its got cowbell and soul claps coming out of its ears and is a highlight on any record that it appears on.
They are a little different from other bands in another way too, in that their whole career has been totally consistent. That is to say that as good as they now, they’ve always been. Take “Five Smell City” – the title track of an album they stuck out in 2021 – or “All Over The News” from the 2017 classic (in certain circles) “At The Sunshine Factory”. Not many bands don’t have dips in 20 years. Not many bands are Märvel.
Ultimately, there’s 23 songs and almost an hour and twenty minutes of music here, and there’s no point in listing every song. Instead, we’ll go to “Danish Rush” and wonder if anything has harnessed the energy of Budgie’s “Breadfan” better, or question how many riffs The King has. The answer is lots. And lots.
He’s even got a blues one for “Ambassador Of Fantastic” – a b-side from 2014, which underlines why we geeks love them. You can lose yourself in a band like this.
The rest of you, you need to catch up. And there’s no better place to start than “Double Decade”. Märvel have gone under the radar too long. Lets end that and end it now. Marvellous, you might say. Obvious end, maybe, but its true.