And another thing… what is it with the lyrics on these Nordic records? They’re always so heartbreakingly jumbled and emotional…
Friska Viljor – Bravo
Ah Friska Viljor! We saw them earlier this year at Haldern Pop festival in Germany, and we thought that despite the obvious Nordic whackiness, they were a band of some merit. This release bears that promise up; Bravo! is, as the title suggests, full of vim and vigour.
Once past the slow, painfully emoted Shotgun Sister, the members of Friska Viljor don't have give it some thump. Gold sounds like a cross between a country brass band on the piss and a folksy Madness whereas Four Points has an aspirant, swirling Arcade Fire-style chord structure that allows the track to burst into life a couple of minutes in. It's all great pop in other words.
Of course this couldn't be Scando pop if it didn't have awkwardly naïve song titles - We Are Happy Now – La La La – (which is an upbeat version of the opening track) springs immediately to mind. And another thing... what is it with the lyrics on these Nordic records? They're always so heartbreakingly jumbled and emotional... Oh Oh is an over emotional confession ("Ladies are walking down the street, summer is heating I'm sweating like cheese/ Feel like I'm stealing their summer away, oh I'm young and restless"... and so on) that redeems the cheese image by wedding itself to a great keyboard driven chorus. And another Scando thing... polka beats. We can't escape them. Lord I Gave My Life is a classic example with the song getting more and more deranged the longer it repeats itself.
I'm not knocking this record though. As I said earlier, it's full of great pop songs like the brilliant Friskashuffle and the rocky but relentlessly awkward Puppet Cabaret. Top song for us is Monday which is a sonic stab in the dark for Friska Viljor. Somehow they pull off this sub disco/electro number with considerable aplomb.
If you like direct, emotive upbeat pop with a twist, then you can't go wrong with this record. Recommended.
Words: Richard Foster