Sweden has really taken the Europop genre by storm. ABBA, Roxette, Ace of Base—all Swedish pop groups that have achieved immense success throughout the globe. Norway is looking to change that, though, with their electro-pop quintet Casiokids. Formed in 2005, Casiokids were the first band to release a Norwegian pop single in the UK—both of which can be found on their new album, Topp stemning på lokal bar (loosely translated to “Great vibe at local bar.”)
The record blasts off with their first single, “Grønt lys i alle led.” It is a very cheery song with light and airy keyboards, and an especially impressive guitar hook. The language barrier is surely detrimental to my enjoyment of the song, but the joyful falsetto is enjoyable to listen to regardless. “Fot I hose” has a much more club-ready vibe than the first song with a heavy emphasis on the bass, and prominent use of the cymbals for a steady beat. There are no vocals whatsoever which allows for the instrumentals to show off front and center. “Verdens største land” is simply a plethora of sound and I love it. They skillfully use their keyboard here to reproduce sounds of bongo drums, a metronome, xylophone, among others—all mixed together with harmonic vocals to create a pleasant yet exotic tune. The next song “Finn bikkjen!” is a bit falsetto-heavy for my taste, but the beat is so funky and infectious I can’t help but be in a good mood listening to it. “Min siste dag” is a bit slower than its predecessors, but all the vocals complement each other quite nicely during the chorus no matter how much they appear to be straining their voices at times. “En Vill Hest” brings an African flair to the record with native chants and beats serving as the basis for the song, with lots of bells and whistles mixed throughout for a very unconventional sound. The next song “Gomurmamma” is another purely instrumental piece that is kaleidoscopic in proportions: thumping bass, cymbal repetition, and electronic noises that are reminiscent of R2D2 in my beloved Star Wars. Pretty crazy stuff. The record ends with “Togens hule,” which is the 2nd half of Casiokids’ UK single. All I can really say that it sounds so incredibly like anything else I’ve ever heard, it’s like an acid trip in music form. Couldn’t have ended the album in any better fashion.
On a whole, this was a pretty awesome album. Yes, I couldn’t understand what they were saying, but their music is so diverse and so distinctive that you kind of look past that. Casiokids and their album Topp stemning på lokal bar was truly a breath of fresh air to listen to, and I wish them all the best both overseas and (fingers crossed) in the United States sometime very soon.