God bless Scandinavia. They’ve given us top-quality music for donkey’s and depending on how honest you are with your guilty pleasures, this will include or exclude The Final Countdown, Ace of Bass and the complete works of ABBA.
Distancing itself from the Eurovision side of the industry, artists like Miike Snow, Sigur Ros, Lykke Li and Bjork have earned Europe’s Great White North its role as the barometer for all things musically feel-good and quirky.
A new instalment into this mould is Norwegian one-woman electro-pop outfit Mr Little Jeans (AKA Monica Birkenes) with Pocketknife. The album includes pre-released singles ‘Rescue Song’ and ‘Oh Sailor’ – the latter of which features the somewhat familiar Silverlake Conservatory of Music Youth Chorale who worked with Ryan Gosling on his debut release Dead Man’s Bones in ’09.
‘Oh Sailor,’ if its accompanying video clip and subsequent YouTube hits are to be any indicator, is this album’s flagship and rightly so. The minimalistic approach to the verses gives the anthemic chorus’ melody and production quality the musical attention it deserves.
Other tracks like ‘Far From Home,’ the final track of the album, inspires you to complete stillness and silence with its simplicity. Heart aching lyrics like “when the distance grows, when you’re far from home are your eyes new?” and “greener grass not so perfect. It’s just for show waking up cold” lilt over ethereal drones leaves you needing a hug.
Birkenes has that cutesy whisper vocal quality popular amongst slightly whacky female singers like our home-grown Lisa Mitchell, Sarah Blasko and Kate Miller-Heidke. There are moments where this breathiness makes her voice lose traction more than a drunken girl’s high heels on a wet tiled floor, but it is this fragile vulnerability that makes her work across the entire album persistently charming.
Pocketknife will finally see it’s release on Tuesday, March 25. Pre-order yours now from iTunes.