Variously and easily described as "a more straight ahead, upbeat Smog," and "a lush, late period Nick Cave." Norwegians Madrugada seem best approached by putting the spotlight on the obvious influences at work on this, their first UK-released album, rather than going into any detail about what it might all mean. Why? Because this is blatant, highly derivative stuff. It's not rubbish by any means, but neither does it reveal the god-like qualities that enthused John Aizlewood (Q, Evening Standard etc.) to describe vocalist Sivert Hoyem as, "single-handedly moving his genre a step forward."
This album reads like an indie who's who. No bad thing if that's what you like. There are moments of individuality of course; this is not a covers band. But listen to the songs and in each case it will become apparent who influenced the sound. I'll list my anorak-y observations in a moment, and if you're in the slightest bit interested, get the album and see if you agree. Suffice to say, though you may still learn to love it, this album is not going to re-shape the world.
Anyway, so here's the track list with attendant influences:
Blood Shot Adult Commitment: This is Iggy Pop with a sleazy 12-bar riff. Ready: Classic Mark E Smith and The Fall doing the snotty Manc thing. I Don't Fit: pure Smiths at their miserable best. Madrugada: Dark and brooding Nick Cave. Majesty: The Sundays come to mind with this. I prefer her voice though. Seven Seconds: More jangling Fall guitar riffing. Lucy One: Fist fighting with The Cramps. Hands Up - I Love You: The Röyksopp vocals and gimmicky title maintain the Norwegian connection. Got You: New Blur; all mockney swagger. Belladonna: Mazzy Star, but with a bloke singing. Ready To Carry You: A saturnine Nick Cave again.
So there you have it. A reasonable but undistinctive romp through the annals of indie. In a Scandanavian styley.
:: Tom Alford