Katzenjammer - 'Rockland'
We seem to have been waiting for Norwegian all girl group Katzenjammers album ‘Rockland’ for some time. I think its had a staggered release, which means us UK types have only just got our hands on it. But we really liked the single release ‘Lady Grey’ which was released at the end of last year, and we even managed to get it on the Wireless when we did our Radio Show playlist thingy last month. Interestingly out of all 20 songs we played, it was Katzenjammer that received the most instant positive feedback, although I remain convinced that in the long term everyone will (even if they don’t know it yet…) be even bigger Major Parkinson converts.
So ok, what can we say about ‘Rockland’ after our long wait? Well this was never going to be dull was it, whilst Katzenjammer are renowned for their ability to play pretty much any instrument they want, they weren’t going to give us 10 songs of dark melancholy. And they haven’t disappointed, this is the most fun I’ve had listening to an album for a long time. I think the secret of Katzenjemmer is fairly simple, they just do what the hell they want, bash out great tunes in a variety of styles, and aim to leave everyone with a huge smile on their faces.
But theres significant method in the madness, these are darn clever musicians with good song writing skills. We start off with the jaunty ‘Old de Spain’, and then launch into the brilliant ‘Curvacious Needs’ – its Americana, Pop, Folk and Sea Shanty all thrown into the same song – I feel that they could add Morris Dancing tunes and pull it off without blinking an eye. ‘Oh My God’ is a slightly odd rap, and it almost fails at the first hurdle, but they just about rescue something with the chorus. ‘Lady Grey’ the pre-album single release remains a great Pop song, simpler in its structure and a stand out song on the album.
But the highlights of the album are still to come. ‘My Own Tune’ simply bounces along with brilliant cavorting glockenspiels thrown in at the end, and the melodies and tunes continue with ‘Shine Like Neon Rays’ and ‘Flash in the Dark’. Ok so its all so upbeat and catchy you might think its too much, but its so different from anything produced by other bands or artists, that I find it hugely uplifting, and a reminder of how good Pop tunes should be written. ‘My Dear’ is a great example, its actually a pretty much perfectly written song, with a great chorus and oh…. youre all getting the idea aren’t you?
Ok, so I think its going to be impossible to produce an album of such inventiveness and quirkiness without it falling down on a couple of occasions ‘Oh My God’ is probably a good example of this, and actually ‘Driving After You’ just isn’t quite my thing. I also get there may be those out there who really don’t get Katzenjammer at all. But quite frankly, I don’t really care. I’m having a great time listening to ‘Rockland’, and I’m hugely looking forward to seeing them live in May for their UK tour.
Nordic Music Review 8.5/10
‘Rockland’ is available on Propeller Music, the CDs available in the UK I’ve just checked, and you can download it too.
Katzenjammers live shows are highly recommended. The UK dates start in Nottingham on the 8th May, then after Glasgow on the 9th you can join us at the excellent Ruby Lounge in Manchester on the 10th before concluding at London Scala on the 11th May.