Elevate Difference

Survival Strategies in a Modern World

There are many things to like about the county of Liechtenstein: its tax haven status, its unusually small size, its ski slopes, and its firm resolve to stay out of the European Union. I happen to love the EU in principle, but have an equal amount of respect for wealthy countries that opt to steer clear of large political unions. Did you know that the EU anthem is “Ode to Joy?” Would Beethoven approve?

To me, the ideals of a tiny nation like Liechtenstein could easily be represented in a rock band. Landlocked and fiercely independent, it would be easy to like the namesake even more than the band. Thing is, Liechtenstein the band makes lovely Swedish indie pop that puts the two name sharers in tough competition. Even the album title, Survival Strategies in a Modern World, seems to pay homage to the idea of existing as an autonomous entity, surrounded by a collectively organized body. I hear individuality is the new conformity.

Naemi, Renée, and Elin have been playing together for several years, touring the Nordic countries and finally releasing their first LP this year. With an impressively feminist track record on their singles, the gals previously carved an important space by calling out gossip, Barbie dolls, skinny models, and ten-year-old girls who diet—and more importantly, the culture that supports them. On their full length release, the Swedes sing about everything from shiny shoes to reputations. Their melodies are catchy without being weighed down by their subject matter. You don’t have to care what they’re saying, but you can also find full lyrics online if their accents confuse your ears. I think they’re charming, but then, I live a short one-hour flight from their home base in Göteborg. My whole life has become everyone else’s English as a second (or third) language.

I have been told that when crossing the Liechtenstein border, your passport will not be stamped. While I have yet to test this theory, a concert ticket stub seems a better souvenir.

Written by: Brittany Shoot, August 6th 2009