Born in the fierce anti Vietnam, anti racism, anti violence protests of the sixties and blossoming in a global movement that brought hundreds of thousands of people together peacefully on a farm near Woodstock, the counter culture was and is an inherently political wake-up call. A perennial adversary of capitalism, born in the face of oppression and cultural liberation. The nineties saw a renewed counter culture rise in burgeoning Swedish hardcore punk scene where veteran acts like Refused made intrinsically political music with attitude and pose. This rebellious spirit of social justice is also hugely prevalent in INVSN, the feverish post-punk camaraderie led by Refused front-man, Dennis Lyxzén and completed by a cross-section of members from iconic Swedish rock and punk acts like Masshysteri or Deportees. On their first LP in five years, „Let The Night Love You“, INVSN offer an intense, dark and brooding outlook on life both disturbingly current and essentially timeless.
Born as far back as 1999 under the name The Lost Patrol and gradually becoming the full-flexed leviathan that INVSN is today, the band doesn’t need to cry wolf all the time to make their point and get their message across. The band is the message, a unit made inseparable through a close bond and shared values. “Everything I write is political,” says Lyxzén. “It’s in my blood, it’s who I am. INVSN is political even if it’s not as verbally direct as ‘fuck the police’ or anything. There is no off-switch to my beliefs.”
Born and bred in the liberal haven that is hardcore punk, Dennis Lyxzén, Anders Stenberg, André Sandström, Sara Almgren and Christina Karlsson are here to challenge our beliefs. Not necessarily with a punk sound, but with a punk ethos. “We have all been playing in hardcore bands at some point in time which kind of shows in the attitude of INVSN as well. Our new record may not be exactly punk sounding, but it is inherently punk in terms of our political world view and our DIY approach to things.” It’s also punk in terms of sticking together like glue. “Friendship is the heart of the band,” states Lyxzén, while primary composer André Sandström adds: “We share a common background and similar values. Punk and hardcore are deep within our DNA, it influences everything we do. We know what it takes to be in a band, we have all done shitty shows in shitty venues together, we all drove far too long in crammed vans, we know what it means to do everything by yourself. This is what made us.”
This it what runs through “Let The Night Love You”, too. A dark and bleak album, driven by an epic sense of morbid grandeur and apocalyptic megalomania. Songs for cities in ruins and ashes, for societies falling apart and for people holding tight no matter what. “INVSN makes use of a huge array of influences,” the singer explains. “We listen to stuff from the sixties and seventies, but we listen to lots of current music as well. We sincerely don’t care how our music gets labeled. There’s this whole post-post punk movement right now, and that’s cool in a way, but it’s not necessarily a surrounding for us to thrive in. We’re the bunch of loners in the corner, sharing a cigarette.”
On paper, of course, post-punk would indeed be a term that comes closest to INVSN. Icons like Bauhaus, the Sisters Of Mercy or some of Depeche Mode’s more disillusioned tunes wreath around a nocturnal album that’s both soothing and disturbing, urging you to leave your comfort zone. “It’s a record that demands attention,” nods Lyxzén and laughs: “It won’t do great as a Spotify background noise.” Indeed not. “Let The Night Love You” deserves to be listened to. It’s like the proverbial abyss. Stare into it long enough and something you didn’t want to stir up will stare back.
“The night represents your darkest fears and your deepest desires,” the band leader says about the title. “We live in a time where most of us struggle with mental health. This record is all about embracing the dark, the painful side, about acknowledging your emotions, desires, and fears. They are a part of you and should be treated this way. This world is a very unforgiving place so you should try to love yourself at least.” It’s no coincidence that the songs mainly came together at night – “created without sunlight,” as Dennis Lyxzén cheekily puts it. Recorded during two intense weeks in May 2019 at Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg, INVSN really faced their demons during the recordings. “We wanted to be into the zone, we wanted to really crawl into the music,” says Lyxzén. “It was intense and sometimes painful, but nevertheless super fun. Nowadays with all this home studio equipment people can record albums forever. We didn’t want that. We wanted to have this snapshot feeling, this intensity.” He shrugs. “But who knows, maybe it’s just our punk attitude again.”