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The Swedish Railway Orchestra release their new studio album 'Once Upon A Time...'

Updated: Mar 7

Rob Smith's project The Swedish Railway Orchestra are back with their electronic stories as new album Once Upon A Time... releases on digital and vinyl


Album: Once Upon A Time...

Band: The Swedish Railway Orchestra

Released: March 7 2024

After three single releases - Obelisco, Once Upon A Time In Palestine and I Saw The City - the host album is now out. But is it any good? We asked Jonah Hoy to investigate.

Artwork for Once Upon A Time In Palestine by Swedish Railway Orchestra

So there you are, in your crib, getting ready for a night out with your lads and lasses, putting on your threads, checking yourself out in the splotchy mirror you so desperately need to clean. Combing your hair back with those tiny bristles one by one they capture your strands and gel to stop just where you want it. That splotchy mirror never looked so good as you toss on your kicks, grab the keys, and shove out the door. 

As you're rolling out the door down to who knows where to meet who knows whom, you get a funky electric and vibrating beat with each step you take towards your destination. The Swedish Railway Orchestra's new LP, Once Upon a Time ..., is a groovy little trot that will lead you there, feeling and looking your absolute best. 

TSRO's new project is bouncy and pops with an alternative and new-wave kind of groove. Think if Let's Dance by Bowie had a bit more bite and snarl, but the formula is kindred to a punk song. 

Chelsea Hotel, the first track starts ominously like a mist that surrounds you with a little gleaming burr, yet the vocals crash within a wildly static thunder where the colossus of vibrations fires at you in all directions. Toe tapping electricity and Once Upon a Time ... might be the LP where you can actually hear the vocals and lyrics more clearly than any of their other songs. 

The album slowly builds like a roller coaster and then smacks you upside the head with an unstoppable groove. While their earlier stuff has more of the dance mix to it, Once Upon a Time ... takes you into an 80s soundscape while the lyrics give an authoritative fuck off attitude.


Take You'll Never Take Me Alive, for example. It has an unrelenting dance score where you totally have to freak out and the lyrics are letting you know the authority or whoever is in the singer's face. Whatever they are spitting, he will spit it right back. While the dance beat goes, the guitar comes and screeches its little purrs with enough static to fry up a sandwich. Each guitar note complements the beat beautifully and is definitely the best song on the LP. 

this alternative, new wave, dance track could bring even the most fundamentalist punk to scuff up their Doc Martens and get down to this.

The Swedish Railway Orchestra is an excellent example of an ever-changing sound and a group that tries to experiment and reverberate something new. TSRO, at its core, is an electronic dance group, but this LP, in my opinion, resembles the Robo-Cop of musical projects. Like Let's Dance and Remain in Light came together to make a superhuman unstoppable force to save humanity from its destruction. 

The album leaves itself so authentically out on the table that there is no feeling to the LP of it trying to be anything other than Swedish Railway Orchestra. While the sound differs a bit from their usual work, this alternative, new wave, dance track could bring even the most fundamentalist punk to scuff up their Doc Martens and get down to this. 

So if you wanna get down to a groovy, cyborg super soldier of an LP, you can check out Swedish Railway Orchestra's  Once Upon a Time ... March 7th. 

Once Upon A Time… is available digitally on all streaming sites worldwide and on a gorgeous transparent violet 12” vinyl. 


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