Almost by definition, musical side projects aren’t meant to last very long, but rather serve as brief, often one-time departures for musicians otherwise engaged with far more pressing or successful bands -- and that’s why Greenleaf has proved itself to be anything but your typical “side project.”
Yes, this Scandinavian music collective has gone through quite the revolving cast since their arrival on the scene, much like an auditory Y2K virus in that fateful millennium flip; but the one constant bond that has repeatedly drawn them together, every few years, like an irresistible gravitational force, is a shared musical vision, straddling the realms of stoner and alternative rock.
Such was the case when Greenleaf first assembled behind Lowrider vocalist Peter Bergstrand for that eponymous, year 2000 debut EP; welcomed Dozer frontman Fredrik Nordin for is 2001 follow-up, Revolution Rock; added Demon Cleaner guitarist Daniel Jansson for 2003’s Secret Alphabets; integrated Truckfighters singer Oskar Cedermalm in time for 2007’s Agents of Ahriman; and powered ahead behind reliable mainstay, guitarist Tommi Holappa, for 2012’s Nest of Vipers.
Now, Greenleaf is on the move again, bidding Cedermalm “adieu” and saying a hearty “hola” to a tandem of new recruits in frontman Arvid Jonsson and drummer Sebastian Olsson, who joined Holappa and long-serving bassist Bengt Bäcke in time to record (incidentally, with no outside help, guest musicians, or other additives) what would become Greenleaf’s next and fifth long-player, Trails and Passes, which is now ready for global release in May of 2014, via Small Stone Recordings.
And, as has always been the case with this ever-evolving sonic beast, the music magically draws out the best talents of whoever happens to be involved, resulting in a modern rock amalgam as impossible to simplify as it is futile to want to; after all simultaneously familiar and surprising new sounds seem to be the ultimate thread connecting Greenleaf’s long career.
A career that now sees the group categorically divesting itself of any lingering “side project” associations (ask Holappa and he’ll bluntly tell you it is Dozer that’s become his “side project” these days) and graduating to well-deserved headline status — the better to take the Greenleaf name to the next level on the abundant strengths of Trails and Passes.
Recommended if you like: Dozer, Brain Police, Sasquatch, Graveyard, Monster Magnet, Clutch, The Brought Low, Truckfighters, Lowrider, The Socks, Skanska Mord, Dwellers, Roadsaw, 7Zuma7, Kiss, Deep Purple, Grand Funk, and any thing else that rocked in 1974.