Album Review: Casiokids – Aabenbaringen over aaskammen

By on Friday, 13th January 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Yes, they had a song on the FIFA 10 soundtrack, and that’s probably where you’ve heard of them. But I have more important news. Norwegian electronic-driven band Casiokids have a new album out this month, called ‘Aabenbaringen over aaskammen’. I am in the fortunate position of having seen the band perform some of these tracks live when they were last in Washington and physically having the album in my grubby little hands for weeks now, long before any of you. And I can tell you this is one heck of a good album. It’s not perfect, but nothing in nature is. And this is pretty stellar.

Since they’ve started and up to now, Casiokids have stuck to their guns and continue to sing exclusively in Norwegian. They’re certainly not the first band of that region to do so (hello, Sigur Ros and Jonsi) but they’re certainly the first one to bring their infectious brand of dance music around the world, which is why the language is moot: people listen to Casiokids records and go see them live because they will make you feel happy to be alive and the music will force you to dance around like a crazy person. While ‘Fot i hose’ from previous album ‘Topp stemning pa lokal bar’ appeared on the aforementioned FIFA soundtrack and made them more well known, ‘Fot i hose’ lacks a lightness, a colourfulness that pervades the entirety of ‘Aabenbaringen over aaskammen’.

Two songs, ‘Olympiske leker’ (“Olympic Games” in Norwegian) and ‘London Zoo’, appear to be appealing directly to the officials of this year’s Olympics in the capital in the hopes they’ll be chosen to perform at the opening ceremony in late July. (This editor hopes they get chosen and there is not a repeat of Leona Lewis and Jimmy Page’s massacre of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ at the 2008 closing ceremony in China.) Casiokids deserve a gold medal for the synths – some twinkly, some bouncy – and the uplifting feeling of the primary melody repeated throughout ‘Olympiske leker’. What could have been a tedious exercise of “how many synth sounds can we squeeze into 4 minutes?” is instead a joy. ‘London Zoo’ takes longer to get going and is a more muted affair. While we’re on the subject of London (and Britain in general), if you had any question about the band’s affection for Britain, there is an interesting Manchester connection with ‘Aldri ska me ha det gøy‘ (“never shall we have fun”), the last track on the album. According to the band, they wrote the tune’s chorus at the Deaf Institute (and from the looks of it, around the incident of the untimely breakdown of their van in Manchester). Odd, but pretty cool.

Structurally, the song order is arranged nicely. The title instrumental track begins the proceedings a little sleepily. Unless you want the stage set ala Jonsi, this might bore you. But skip forward to track 2 for ‘Det haster!’, which we gave away as a previous MP3 of the Day. Still not super dance mode yet…until the next track, ‘Dresinen’. I’m not really sure how to describe this one except that it’s wonky-waltzy and the harpsichord/accordion-like synth effects makes me think of the Addams Family. Trippy, man. But fun. (Rather hilariously, I learned the song has found its way on the Pro Evolution Soccer [PES] 2012 video game so Casiokids’ beats will continue to beguile football gamers for years to come.)

‘Golden Years’, not to be confused with Mister Ziggy Stardust birthday David Bowie’s song of the same name, will bring the tropical air into your cold January rooms. The band start a UK tour next Thursday in Birmingham, and I vouch entirely for the high entertainment value of their live performance (so much that I ranked them #1 on my top gigs of 2011), so yeah, catch them on this tour, you will not be disappointed.

You’d think bonus CD track ‘Dr. Tarzan Monsoon’ would have a similar effect but unfortunately that one is just another instrumental with randomly timed animal sounds. ‘Selskapets triste avslutning’ (an attempt at a wall of sound) and ‘Kaskaden’ (another instrumental but with more dance bite) are more experimental, but the one track I find most interesting is ‘Elefantenes hemmelige gravplass’. I think this translates to “elephant secret cemetery”…what? Forget the name, it’s Casiokids’ stab at creating the vibe of a great ‘80s ballad ala Lionel Richie, and it’s totally unexpected. You can almost smell the hairspray and Wind Song. This is an album that will keep your toes tapping and perky from this winter all through the year.

8.5/10

‘Aabenbaringen over aaskammen’, the new album from Casiokids, will be released next Monday, the 16th of January, on Moshi Moshi. The band heads out on a UK tour, starting in Birmingham, on the 19th.

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One Response

[…] 4. Casiokids – ‘Aabenbaringen over aaskammen’ (Moshi Moshi) – There’s no way I could have forgotten the craziness of Casiokids’ third album. Even in the middle of winter, thoughts of a pineapple-shaped maraca, the sheer wonkiness of ‘Det Haster!’ and ‘Dresinen’, and disco and jungle beats working in harmony on the same album easily warmed my heart. This is controlled chaos, in a way that only Nordics manage to do it. And even if you go into this album thinking, “no way is this album going to lift my mood”, trust me, it will. You’ll even leave it with a knowing yet silly grin on your face.Read more here. […]

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