Scandinavia: World Power
Backwards banjos, police sirens, garbled political slogans mash-up like Terminator X two decades after his heyday, as Scandinavia’s postmodern art pop/rock effort kicks off.
Everything about World Power is full on, a bold, shimmering, tuneful statement of intent. Highly mastered and smacking of perfectionism, it blasts from the speakers in a technicolour whirl of chiming guitars, recalling Marr or Sumner and their most joyous. The vocals ring very Elvis Costello in intensity and gutterality, as Scandinavia cast around for merry meaning in a dark world.
Scandinavia wear their art on their collective political sleeves, with images of a disgraced Tony Blair being as easily deployed as folk/punk hero Ian Dury elsewhere. The band knows their stuff, but will not hammer the listener with it, instead letting the political nous shine through the samples and wry lyrics. Titles such as Strawman, Intelligent Hip Hop and Slightly Germanic indicate a wry humour that places Scandinavia in a collegiate line past XTC, Devo and Vampire Weekend.
When it comes to ‘success’ in a digital world, their surefire hit (in a fair world free of payola) is Sexlife. This is a bona fide 21st Century classic, with intriguing dynamics, rhythms and melody, twisting and turning in a genuinely alluring way. And repeat. A little more spontaneity and risk taking next time out would be welcome, but with Sexlife and the multicoloured dimensions on offer on World Power, this is a bold and beautiful step.
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All words by DB Schenker. More writing by DB on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.