Of course I still blame Ocean of Lotion for finishing 2023 so far behind with more in depth album reviews, given it literally took weeks to work out exactly what to say about their fabulous release 'LouiLouiLoui'. In the end I opted for my 'go to' strategy from the last 9 years of writing complete nonsense of course, but whilst I wait for legal representation from Mathias Jørgensen, and John Prine's estate, I should of course start 2024 in ernest, and Bergen psych dream pop band Misty Coast seem the ideal choice, given they released 'Nevereverending' at the end of October, and it belatedly wraps up last year on a real high.
In a way it's also the perfect antidote to all things Ocean of Lotion, because whilst they opt for offering complete unashamed entertainment, theatre and high energy alternative rock, Misty Coast do things very differently, a quiet sophistication, and a sense that in 'Nevereverending' they are totally in control. It does take a couple more listens than their Bergen counterparts, but it's a complete delight from start to finish.
It opens with 'Everything is Blurry', deliberate and weighty, a curious but clever track which musically matches the title, hazy and undefined, before opening up with a clarity in the vocals that's really different and unexpected. Launching then into the previously released 'The End of the Beginning' suddenly everything makes makes sense, a stunning blaze of melodic phrasing, with Linn Frøkedal offering an effortless and soothing vocal tonic, as if she's hypnotising us for the 30 minutes of music to follow.
But for me 'So Slow' take things to a different level, an irresistible catchy pop song with fabulously simple guitar contribution, and memorable lyrics: "I can see you in the back row sleeping, you know everything there is to know, didn't expect you would care about it at all". Meanwhile 'Breathe' keeps the momentum going, it just has so many layers of instrumentation, yet again it opens up to another gorgeous tune in the chorus.
Title track 'Nevereverending' has so many musical ideas, with a cascade of vocal harmonies which will drift into your consciousness, whilst the thumping 'Brainchild' and 'Canvas Empty', have sledgehammer musical themes which will hit your senses full on. I love the opening of 'Hi Goodbye', with the feeling that magical raindrops are falling from the skies, whilst they conclude with the reflective 'Cold War', a thoughtful 'end of album track' that will have you clinging on to each word.
Richard Myklebust and Linn Frøkedal have created something particularly special here, because they've written 10 songs which are all accessible, easy to listen to and convivably melodic, yet layered with so much fuzzy complexity that you could listen 50x and still hear new things. And despite the fact that each track is so distinctive and delivers such a tuneful punch, actually the sum of the album is greater than the individual parts, and 'Nevereverending' flows with such a natural coherence that the album will draw you in, with a warmth that makes it relatable and charming. Definitely a favourite album of 2023.