This is a proper mix of styles and influences: think Arcade Fire covering Kate Bush by way of a generic American pop punk band. The first time we played it through it all just slipped by, but it’s not an album you can half-listen to. We’ve warmed to it via successive plays.
Opener Ride My Bicycle is seven minutes long, and mixes proggy strings with a Kate Bush Running Up That Hill rhythm; it’s nothing if not ambitious. They’re a six-piece from Norway and made their concert debut in Trondheim in 2010, and played at Urørtfinalen, at a yearly competition for up and coming Norwegian bands. You’d be hard pressed to immediately spot the Nordicness, though having spent the weekend listening to Choir of Young Believers (theme to The Bridge band), they have that same dark undercurrent.
The “generic American pop punk band” reference is for the vocals and it’s a reference point not a criticism (Iglu and Hartley is the band we were actually thinking of).
Kick and Curse is a mere four minutes long but has an Arcade Fire grandeur to it, perhaps more Elton John than Kate Bush. It’s mostly all like that, though Steven is a slower but powerful tune, as is closer Blind As Night.
This is one to keep playing. A bit like art being art if someone says it is, if this becomes a hit (and they’re big at home), we’ll wonder why we couldn’t see it; at the moment it’s hard to say. Fans of Arcade Fire and prog pop should make a note of the name.