Josefin Ohrn & The Liberation

Josefin Ohrn & The Liberation


The Northern Quarter’s Soup Kitchen has developed over recent years into something of a citadel for psych rock bands and fans alike. The scene, which has now been blossoming for longer than most would have thought possible, sees new and unfamiliar bands cropping up from all corners of the world on a weekly basis. Many of them pass through town eventually, and nowhere do they appear more frequently than the Soup Kitchen. Think of it as a safe space for psych freaks of all ages, a fair cross-section of whom are out tonight.

Tonight’s entry in the 2017 class is Gothenburg’s Josefin Ohrn & The Liberation. They have been steadily growing a reputation in this world for a few years, first hitting these shores alongside their compatriots and fellow Rocket Recordings alumni Goat in 2014. Their second album Mirage received an array of fawning reviews to boot upon its 2016 release. As their six members hit the stage tonight, anticipation in the Spear Street basement is high.

Ohrn herself assumes centre stage, armed with her Arturia Microbrute synth, straddled on each side by a lead guitarist. Occasionally one of the two axe-wielders allows the other to take the more prominent position, but frequently they play as if they both lead the band. That, incidentally, can be said of the bassist, keyboardist and drummer too, not to mention Ohrn’s vocals. This is a band of equals, all leaders, all at full pelt, all propelling forward at full speed and intensity.

The main set, perishingly short at 40 minutes in length, is a thrilling onslaught. Drawn primarily from Mirage, the songs deliberately bleed together, all equally frazzled, all casting the room in a hazed, saturated sheen. Songs titles like ‘Endless Ocean’ and ‘Circular Motion’ suddenly make a lot of sense in this environment, as the resident psych aficionados succumb to that familiar surrender.

By the time main set closer ‘Running Through My Mind’ arrives, it’s hard to believe that more than ten minutes has passed. It’s possible that the puff of smoke in which they disappeared was just another illusion, but it comes as a shock. They do return to adorn us with two further offerings, with the appreciation only heightened. A minor obstacle like the synth falling to the floor isn’t enough to break their stride for a beat – it makes the same sound when you play it on your knees, after all.

If this all sounds like your bag, then add them to your bucket list. For the rest of you, I’m sorry for your loss. If they had released tonight’s set as their new one track, fifty minute record, few would have blinked an eye. This is a band with a mastered, holistic, streamlined sound firmly hitting their stride, and how could you resist that.

Josefin Ohrn & The Libertion: Official | Facebook | Twitter

Max Pilley

I'm a refugee in Manchester, having successfully escaped Birmingham in 2007. I'm a soon-to-be journalism student, used to edit the music section of the Manchester Uni paper, and have done a little radio production to boot. I've been adding bits and pieces to Silent Radio since 2012, mostly gig reviews, but a few albums too. Also hoping now to get involved with the brilliant radio show. When doing none of that, you can usually find me at some gig venue somewhere around town.