Khoma - The Second Wave
I was one of the mere 2 000 people who bought Khoma's debut album Tsunami before it went out of print. About a year later, it was the rest of the world's turn to get familiar with the word 'tsunami', when the biggest natural disaster in modern history struck the Southeast Asia during Christmas 2004. Given the circumstances, it might seem a bit hazardous of the band to name their follow-up The Second Wave. Khoma's explanation is that this particular disaster was indeed awful, but the constant disaster that is poverty, starvation, genocide and more is not nearly as much noticed. The second wave is already upon us, even if it is not as graphic as the first one.
The album Tsunami was released roughly two years ago when the band was still called Koma, which they had to change due to right issues. There are quite a few of Khoma's fans who missed the opportunity to buy this album back in 2004, that's why the band decided to carry over the three best songs to The Second Wave. Which explains why Stop Making Speeches, Like Coming Home and One Of Us Must Hang is present among the new songs. One department that has improved compared to the debut is Jan Jämte's singing. At times he still feels a bit too shrill for my taste, but during the opener The Guillotine his vocals are much darker, and together with a beautiful cello it provides solitude in a rather unique way.
Khoma hails from Umeå in northern Sweden, a city well-known for its flourishing hardcore scene in the nineties. This is rooted in Khoma as well, although their sound leans more towards pop and rock. The excellent single Medea (which is the name of a character from the Greek mythology) almost have a commercial value to it, while the ballads Hyenas and Asleep contains little more than Jämte's vocals and a piano. Khoma are not shy to talk about politics, either. For example, one track is called 1909.08.04, which was the date when the big Swedish strike happened. But the general theme on the album, besides the already mentioned second wave, is actually feminism. Very interesting, and certainly not something you hear everyday in this kind of genre.
This might not be suitable to everyones taste, but Khoma should at least be given a chance. Since their music conveys a message in such an emotional way they will surely be around for many more years to come. My only real complaint about The Second Wave is that it's been released in the late spring, just when the sun is starting to shine through and the grass is getting greener. Music this dark and gloomy is meant to be listened to in the late fall, when flowers die, darkness engulfs our country and depression grabs a hold of the population.