Every issue I had with Laakso's "Mother, am I good looking?" is beautifully absent from frontman Markus Krunegård's debut solo effort. The closest "Markusevangeliet" comes to disappointing is in its occasional similarity to Laakso, but, with Krunegård's band being one of the most original voices to come out of Sweden in years, there is little chance of this spoiling the record. Sadly, for those who do not speak Swedish, Krunegård's decision to sing in this Scandinavian tongue may somewhat blight the album as much of its anthemic power becomes lyrically indecipherable and the ability to sing along is removed. I truly hope this facet of "Markusevangeliet" can be surmounted by non-Swedes, and the strength of Krunegård's songwriting is impressive enough alone to help one overlook the language barrier, but it's worth listening to some of the tracks on his Myspace page to make sure you don't purchase a record that you are too distanced from. Songs like "Samma nätter väntar alla" and "Ibland gör man rätt, ibland gör man fel" are as fascinating in their songwriting and instrumentation as they are defined by Krunegård's dour, lacerating lyrics, and one can hardly fail to notice his unique timbre and delivery as almost an instrument of its own. "Se på mig nu, vad tycker du?" and "Den som dör får se/Markus kyrkogård" are two of the best compositions that Krunegård has ever done, especially when the latter enters into its final section with Krunegård singing: "Om du är rädd sluta med det. Om du är bränd och rädd lägg av med det..."
Despite all of the warnings that Laakso's impressive catalog sent out, "Markusevangeliet" affected me in a way that few records have ever been able to. Markus Krunegård may very well have crafted the best album of 2008.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson