It’s now been seven years since Niccokick was formed, and three years since the debut album Awake From the Dead, My Dear Best Friend was released. Now as the band releases the follow-up The Good Times We Shared, Were They So Bad? they’ve somehow achieved the impossible…an even longer title than before. However, the album unveils a new musical maturity and…well, just a musical maturity…

The road leading up to the final version of The Good Times We Shared, Were They So Bad? has been filled with tours, death anxiety, breakdowns, therapy and the odd coffee break. Niccokick has been hard, but pleasant, work since day one. Combined with numerous other side projects, continuous touring and record producing, the band got close to a collective suicide in early 2007, due to pure exhaustion. Other bands have learnt their lesson through similar situations and slowed down. Niccokick learnt nothing and after having apathetically stared into the inside of some plastic carrier bags, they rose again, straight into top gear and they let loose as if their nervous breakdowns had never happened.

Because of, thanks to or despite all of this, The Good Times We Shared, Were They So Bad? is the best work the group has produced, and a good indication of what the Swedish indie scene should expect in 2008. With a little help from Annika Norlin (Hello Saferide, Säkert!), various other musicians and some friends, they’ve created a tight collection of songs just as suitable for the party as it is for the morning after.

Everything started in Ängelholm in the autumn of 2001, when the singer and songwriter Andreas Söderlund discovered that his brilliantly simple but beautiful pop melodies, sounded better if they were filtered through creaking guitars and falsetto screams. At a visit to his hometown Båstad he was beaten up for being too happy, and was looked after by Martin Stääv and Philip Hall when they found him in the gutter outside Pepes Bodega. As a thank you Andreas asked them if they wanted to join the best band in the world, and since that day the two friends have regretted saying yes. They advertised for a drummer but Andreas’ brother Mathias was the only one who applied.

The North West of Skåne has always had a vibrant underground scene since the 70s with bands like Kriminella Gitarrer and Bob Hund. Niccokick have taken some of that tradition and mixed it with their own generation’s influences, like Smashing Pumpkins, Dinosaur Jr and Pavement, managing to create a sound of their own, which also stands up internationally.

Their anxiety-fuelled party music was a success from the first gig at The Tivoli in Helsingborg. According to fans, a bootleg of the gig can be found on a secret Myspace page, although the band itself hasn’t been able to find it. Amongst Niccokick’s fans the Tivoli gig has become a well told story, and like the Uppsala show with Snook in 2004, it’s impossible for the amount of people claiming they were at the gig, to actually have been there. Rumour has it that the show in Uppsala was sponsored by a big brewery, the kitchen personnel plied the band with alcohol, the gig had to be abandoned after a few songs, a bass and four hearts were broken and the majority of the audience loved it.

Through constant touring and amazing live gigs they’ve won a legion of loyal fans, but the wider audience know them best for the hit single, Turn 27, and the earlier 2003 collaboration with Jose Gonzalez, I Want You Back.

Niccokick has always been appreciated for their visual work and their music videos are already established in Swedish rock history, especially the title track of the 2004 EP Run! Run! Run! (dir: Anders Weberg), where the band members are seen running through the southern Swedish landscape. The shoot ended with the police being called when Daniel “accidentally” climbed the fence into Barsebäck nuclear power station. However, it’s their music that has seen them rise above their competition and it’s impossible to ignore their influence on today’s Swedish music scene.

The Good Times We Shared, Were They So Bad? sees the beginning of a new era of the Swedish indie scene, which Niccokick had previously defined at the start of the twenty-first century. Niccokick is ready to get out there to create new live legends for the masses in 2008.

Mårten Wennelin