INVSN’s latest album, The Beautiful Stories, is affecting people in ways that the band hoped for, but could not have fully anticipated. The world that this collection of music is being released into has been shaken, but it is not yet fully shattered. It is wounded, but hopeful for recovery. It has been taken down a notch or two by grief, and strife, and discord, but as with many other grim points in history – new lows often lead to greater highs. The Beautiful Stories is the soundtrack to all of this, and it’s exactly what music lovers need right now as they attempt to make sense of an increasingly maddening world. Set to be released on June 9 via Dine Alone Records, this is the follow-up to the band’s selftitled 2013 album.
While it’s their second album under the name INVSN, the members (Dennis Lyxzen – Vocals, Sara Almgren – Bass & Vocals, Anders Stenberg – Guitar & Keyboards, Andre Sandström – Drums & Percussion, Christina Karlsson – Keyboards & Vocals) have a history that dates back as far as 1999 when they recorded and performed under the name Lost Patrol Band. “Me, Andre, and Anders have been playing together for many years now,” Dennis Lyxzen said during a call from his home in Sweden to discuss the new release. “We released two albums, Hela Världen Brinner (2010), Saker Som Jag Sagt Till Natten (2011), under the name Invasionen, and then changed it to INVSN in 2013. This one (The Beautiful Stories) is the first one we’ve done only in English.” Prior to forming INVSN Dennis spent many years as the lead vocalist for Refused, and was also a key member of The (International) Noise Conspiracy. Sara Almgren, who joined the band in 2011, was also a member of The (International) Noise Conspiracy aside from being in The Doughnuts – the first all-female straight-edge band in Sweden. Anders Stenberg is best known for being a touring member of Lykke Li’s band.
Christina Karlsson has performed with Frida Selander, Tiger Forest Cat and Honungsvägen, and Andre Sandström bookends the overall hardcore discography of the group with his experience touring with DS-13, The Vicious, and Ux Vileheads. Coming from the backgrounds that they do you would expect the music of INVSN to be harder than nails, but here they choose a more subtle path, wrapping difficult themes in beautiful melodies and songwriting, such as with the album’s first single, “Immer Zu,” which is used as an outlet for the women in the band to directly address the patriarchal society we’re all (regardless of gender) living in and struggling against. Recorded with Adam “Atom” Greenspan, The Beautiful Stories is what Dennis refers to as the band’s “first real attempt” and it touches upon many important themes ranging from politics, to feminism.
“The world is a really fucked up place right now so there is loads of stuff to make right,” Sara Almgren said via email when asked about the album’s themes. “Music has always been a way of fighting back for me.” Christina Karlsson Lundström (AKA, Kicki) added “What I think and what the songs stand for is not that important, it’s what you hear as a listener and how you reflect on yourself that matters. No matter what the issue is about, the important thing is that you can receive a message and make something good out of it.” Getting something transformative and emotionally repairing out of The Beautiful Stories is a sure thing. Each listen reveals layers of hopefulness that can be pulled from as needed. In times of crisis, music has always served as a healing balm and, as addressed in the second single, “I Dreamt Music,” this world may be devoid of meaning, but music will always mean something.