If you’re going to name your album after a camp in Guantanamo Bay and then call yourself Highasakite, you’d best not be offering a stoner’s view of American politics. “It’s bad stuff, man.” Happily, Highasakite’s Ingrid Helene Håvik says Camp Echo is “more a state of mind”, and we know what state that is: chilling and listening to old mixtapes.
Several tracks on here reminded us of old hits, though we didn’t bother trying to think of them (The Who’s Behind Blue Eyes was perhaps one). The Googlesphere raves about Highasakite’s debut, winning two Norwegian Grammys and a place on Oz youth radio Triple J’s hottest 100 as it did. Because of this praise we stuck with the album through its initial hard-to-listen-to phase and it’s grown on us, though it hides its charms.
It’s hard going because it’s a modern take on the rather soulless sounds of 80s and 90s electropop/rock, from Human League to Nine Inch Nails, and there’s an off-putting mechanical feel to it.
But they write a good hook and have an idiosyncratic take on lyrics: “Call up the guys with the samurai swords” goes an early catchy chorus and the next song calls for the narrator to be sent “someone alive” and “not likely to die” — we’ve no idea what Ingrid has in mind but it sounds a bit Game Of Thrones-ish.
Despite the leanings towards the industrial and out-there lyrics, this is basically pop, and some sections without vocals sound like the Frankie Goes To Hollywood/Trevor Horn/ZTT era. If you hear a tune on the radio, it’ll be an ear-worm before you know it. Not bad at all but might take some effort to get over your early resistance.