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Wilmer X

In the '80s, Wilmer X took an outspoken stand against synth pop and electronic music, stating a dislike for synthesizers and playing rock & roll with a garage feel. Almost ironically, they also showed a big talent for melodies and catchy pop hooks. In fact, the melodies and the flirtations with pop would later become a problem. But in the '80s it was an excellent complement to the group's aggressiveness.

The group was formed as Wilmer Pitt in 1977, by Nisse Hellberg and Clas Rosenberg. But at the time of their first recording, the single "Sov Min Älskling," they changed their name to the less offensive Wilmer X. After recording a self-titled mini-LP and their first full-length album, Wilmer X, they managed to get a contract with MNW and started working on the album Fula Fula Ord, having a much higher budget than on the previous recordings. The band now included harmonica player Jalle Lorensson, bassist Lennart Nygren, and drummer Jalle Olsson. Sticky Bomb, who was to be Wilmer X's long-lasting drummer, was also included on some tracks on percussion. In 1985, Under Hot was released, providing the group with a slogan with which they described their music. The idea was that they played as if under constant threat, giving them a manic energy. A few more albums gave the group a solid following, especially in southern Sweden, but they did not manage to break through to the big audiences. Neither did their two first albums with English lyrics, Downward Bound and Not Glamorous, break abroad.

In 1988, they changed to the record company EMI and scored their first nationwide hit with the title track from Teknikens Under. This album even included keyboards, something unthinkable five years earlier, and on the following albums, Wilmer X started to move away from their straight and aggressive rock. The double-album Mambo Feber, released in 1991, sold gold, and was also a success with the critics. That was also true about the live album En Speciell Kväll Med Wilmer X from the same year, starring Peps Persson. But from here the group did not seem to know where to move. Pontiac Till Himmelen includes some skilled roots- and gospel-inspired numbers, but also a bunch of melodramatic ballads. On the following albums, they tried blues, country, and ballads without managing to sell near as much as Mambo Feber had.

The different styles they mastered showed the bands competence, but left fans confused. Neither was the songwriting what it had been. In 1995, an excursion into a melodramatic and pathetic landscape on Hallå Världen helped in alienating their most faithful rock fans. When Wilmer X finally announced their return to heavy roots rock and released Primitiv in 1998, many fans draw a sigh of relief. But not wanting to stay on one track for too long, on the next album, Silver, Wilmer X turned to glam rock showing heavy influence from David Bowie and T Rex. ~ Lars Lovén
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