If truth be told I wasn’t going to start posting reviews after our annual summer break until later this week, but a dose of ‘Nordic Cowboy Rock’ is way too tempting to miss out on, even if I still have sand in my shoes and more areas of soreness caused by wetsuit chafing and damp kayak seats than you really wish to know about.
Better still it comes courtesy of Norwegian 4 piece rock outfit Moron Police, who we haven’t heard from since they released a slightly silly song about Tuna in September last year. However regular readers will of course remember their stunning album (and artwork) A Boat on the Sea, which was released back in 2019 and which was one of our NMR Albums of the Year. It’s not surprising they haven’t released too much since, given their Kickstarter vinyl funding appeal was so successful, that the entire band have been locked in a room for the last 12 months packaging and mailing out vast quantities of merchandise around the world.
Anyway they’re back with the 1st taster of an EP, which they touted as being ‘acoustic’, and I imagined being really stripped back, but it’s really not like that at all, as it has a much bigger sound to it than I envisaged. And certainly the style of ‘The Stranger and the Hightide’ adds an even broader string to the bands repertoire, which already fits very loosely somewhere in the progressive pop rock metal sphere.
Vocalist Sondre has kindly given some extra (and maybe even ‘exclusive’) insights on the new songs: “For some reason, when I pick up an acoustic guitar I make, for a lack of a better word, cowboy rock. I don't know why this happens. I don't listen to cowboy rock. I'm not even sure there's a genre called cowboy rock. But here we are. I picked out 4 songs from this weird heap of tumbleweed compositions and recorded an EP with the band. It's not at all what our next main album will sound like, but we quite like the songs, and felt we should do them justice. We'll probably be making many more of these weird "genre EPs" going forward. It's fun to try new things."
It reminds me of those bizarre medical cases where a person wakes up from a coma speaking fluent Russian, even when they’ve never been east of Yeovil.
Anyway I certainly hope they try more ‘weird’ stuff, because this is an instantly likeable track, still distinctly in that Moron Police style, but with an outrageously catchy tune, twangy guitars whilst rattling along at the pace of a Transcontinental Railroad locomotive. We feature far too much sad and serious stuff on these pages, and these guys always bring a smile to my face.
I know I’ve probably said this before, but when all of ‘this’ is over we really need to entice them over for a UK gig or two. Maybe it could be a famous homecoming to Stoke-on-Trent for Christian their bass player. Or am I just imagining this slightly useless fact?
The full EP will apparently be released at the end of October. The ever excellent artwork was designed by Thomas Falla Eriksen.