Katzenjammer ‘A Kiss Before You Go’  – album review

Katzenjammer: A Kiss Before You Go. (Propeller Recordings)
Available now

Norway’s 4-piece all-girl extravaganza Katzenjammer have broken the sound barrier and melted hearts in the UK with their recent tour and new album ”ËœA Kiss before You Go’. Below Elisabeth Robson reviews the album for us.

These girls got it goin’ awn! All 4 musicians extraordinaire from Oslo are multi-talented, multi-tasking, multi-instrumental creampuffs filled with custard and gun powder. They pack an almighty punch with their raucous ompa sound, exceedingly competent song writing ability and unique look. It is fairly infrequent that at least ¾ of an un-tried and un-tested band’s songs end up as regular earworms, so for this Katzenjammer, you deserve a special medal. The Legion of Honour. There you go ladies, wear it with pride.

There’s more than a hint of sarcasm in their songs ”“ they are fun and intelligently written and for me, who is usually not drawn to girl groups, a most refreshing change. The title track, A Kiss Before You Go, is akin to a boorish pirate’s drinking song, you can practically smell the ale as it swishes in the tankard. Lady Marlene, a charming folk-ish, music box ballad. Gypsy Flee, Balkan, guttural and raunchy. Loathsome M, a punk song pure and simple, shouty and dancey. But the stand out track for me on this album is ”ËœI Will Dance (When I Walk Away)'(see video below), which truly demonstrates Katzenjammer’s ability to harmonise and display their unique blend of sounds. And there are sounds aplenty ”“ as a whole they are masters of at least 25 different instruments, which they utilise with abundance.

There are 100 different sounds going on, delicious harmonies and handsome melodies. Bawdy and tempting without being sickly sweet or overtly femme, just a strikingly beautiful array of tunes with a tongue-in-cheek wink at caricature – a distinguished nod to burlesque. Having seen them live, I can assure you Katzenjammer are not ”Ëœgirlie’ in the slightest. They are LOUD. And PUNK. And awesome. A truly incredible live band ”“ beg, borrow or steal to see them. They switch instruments and constantly swap roles – singing, drums, horns, their massive triangular cat-bass, accordion, mandolin, GLOCKENSPIEL! The audience love them and they are quickly amassing a huge following here and in the US.

A whimsical ovation and respectful salute to four extremely talented and competent musicians who have managed to break the mould with flair and originality.

Track List

A Kiss Before You Go
I Will Dance (When You Walk Away)
Cherry Pie
Land Of Confusion
Lady Marlene
Cocktails & Ruby Slippers
Soviet Trumpeter
Loathsome M
Shepherd’s Song
Gypsy Flee
God’s Great Dust Storm

Katzenjammer will be touring the UK in May playing the following dates:

17 May ”“ Academy 2, Bristol
18 May ”“ Ruby Lounge, Manchester
19 May ”“ King Tuts, Glasgow
20 May ”“ Academy 2, Birmingham
22 May ”“ The Haunt/Concorde 2, Brighton
23 May ”“ XOYO, London click

For more information (and to buy tickets) go here.

All words by Elisabeth Robson. More by Elisabeth can be found here.

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Elisabeth's interest in indie music began in the NYC punk and hardcore scene in the early 80's before moving to London in 1985 where she continued to both play and write. Always the bridesmaid, she has played gigs in lots of bands alongside such notables as The Fall, Bob Rock, some dude from Toto and Girlschool, but put away the bass (gave it away, actually) in 1992. These days she prefers to hunt down new music with the ferocity of a wild animal and 'out' hidden talent. She has a particular interest in Scandinavian (especially Norwegian) indie music - “because it is SO very unusual, and they usually despise us - I like that”, and endeavors to break away from the mendacity and mundanity of mainstream music journalism.


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