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  • David Bentley

Pom Poko - ‘Andrew’ (single from forthcoming album)

Quite a lot has happened during our little vacation break so we’re just catching up as best we can.

One notable event was the release of the first single from Pom Poko’s second album, which should be winging its way to us in November.

The track is ‘Andrew’. I think we can safely assume it isn’t a genuflection to Prince Andrew.

Judging from the amount of reviews this song has had already received Pom Poko has made the jump from being an obscure, and a little weird, Norwegian band to European superstars. Of course we always knew that was going to happen and weren’t surprised to find a growing number of radio jocks following suit.

The band has already commented widely on the album and on the single, mentioning their ‘collective’ writing process and how they couldn’t have written this song individually, how it arose out of a rhythmic pattern laid down by drummer Ola Djupvik (it amazes me how many songs do start on the kit) pasted on to some guitar and bass passages written by Martin Tonne. And how it then took off on its own direction.

That sounds like typical Pom Poko to me, a band that conforms to nothing.

They are pretty adept at churning out complex math-rock guitar and rhythm parts in odd time signatures, perhaps even conflicting ones at the same time like latter day prog rockers, and they are often encouraged by radio DJs to do just that, as if it’s an aptitude lost to the world. But at the same time they invariably come up with a memorable melody. I listened to ‘Andrew’ four times but while I was picking out a semblance of a tune by the end it isn’t one I’m likely to be whistling while I work and I can’t honestly say, hand on heart, that this song is an improvement on any of the tracks on the first album, ‘Birthday’ (although in all fairness that was one of my top albums of 2019, from anywhere).

It’s easy for any band, and especially a young one, to be influenced into pushing the experimental boat out too far. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt but I wouldn’t like them to stray too far from the format of ‘Birthday’ on the new album in its entirety.

When you’ve found the winning formula it can pay to stick to it.

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