“We all know it’s been some weird 2 + years for everybody on this spinning ball. Us included. A lot of time for reflections about what to do with the rest of our lives. Number one on that list was, obviously, to make the best true and rowdy in-your-face rock album we could possibly make. A classic Hellsingland Underground album”.

So says HU vocalist Charlie Granberg of his band’s new record, Endless Optimism. Has the band’s wish come true? Or was it a mere pandemic pipedream?

For the most part, it really has. This is by some way, to my battered old ears at least, the most consistently enjoyable ‘Underground record in the band’s sixteen year history. As the band constantly allude to throughout the record, they ain’t getting any younger, but on utter stormers like the classic, seventies-tinges southern rock of Time Is Elastic, they put all of that accrued experience to work superbly well to create what is simply wonderful music.

Granberg’s wish to make a rowdy record is perhaps the only part of his statement you might take issue with – there’s more woozy, feelgood reverie here than barroom brawling rock n’roll overall – but in every other respect this is indeed a classic Hellsingland Underground album. Opener Young and Dumb, Around, It Started With a  Teardrop and Old White Men are all up there as bona fide examples of this band’s best work, whilst the knowingly arch Big Fish, a song which sounds like something The Band might have come up with had they been squeezed through Nashville’s Rhinestone Cowboy seventies sausage machine is, quite possibly – and I have to stress again this is just my personal opinion – the best thing they’ve ever come up with.

I’ve only mentioned my favourite tracks in this review, but I’m happy to report that there is quite literally no weak spot on this record; The band analyse every aspect of the ludicrous proposition of being fifty and in a rock n’roll band with grace and wit throughout – lyrically this is a beautifully strong album – and fans of supremely well crafted, and yes, endlessly optimistic, it would seem – rock n’roll are going to lap this absolute diamond of an album right up.

Endless Optimism releases on November 4th.