Any self respecting Nordic music expert should, of course, have already come across The Mukherjee Development, given they’ve been releasing their melodic strain of indie music for a few years, releasing their 1st album 'Burnin' Time' last year, and now their follow up 'Should I Dance For You'. Thankfully I’ve never claimed to be an expert, just some hapless idiot who does this as a distraction from supporting a terrible lower tier football team, whilst inadvertently upsetting 'Leprous' and 'Of Monster and Men' fans in the process.
If I had come across them earlier I’d have been curious about the band based on their name and biography alone. Their Spotify profile asks if we can “Imagine the musical equivalent of Kurt Vile, Phoebe Bridgers, and John Prine throwing a dinner party with a menu of Danish smørrebrød, Indian vindaloo, and American key-lime pie". Well actually no I can’t quite imagine that, but far more importantly it opens up a completely different debate about which musician would bring which dish - for me Vile brings the Vindaloo, Bridgers the dessert, and Prine comes with the smørrebrød. I really liked John Prine, his sad passing would make him a pretty quiet dinner party guest for sure, but his wikipedia page is still positively full of references to his obsession with Danish speciality breads, so it all fits together.
Based on recent single, 'You're Moving Too Fast For Me", songwriter Oscar Mukherjee would bring decaf coffee and doughnuts (or maybe he'd claim they were donuts), in a beautifully judged track with a gorgeous tune, and which builds to a lovely chorus about jetpacks and parachutes, unless my hearing deliberately deceives me. The lyrics feel so effortless, simple and relatable: "giving myself a break, decaf coffee with cream I'll take, a donut on the side to knock the edge off my anxiety.... because you're moving too fast for me".
Oscar Mukherjee is certainly an interesting songwriter, born to Danish / Indian parents, but spending his young influential years in America - all coincidentally places that NMR writer Harri has just visited during her extended vacation. His songs "deal with identity, devotion, and love in the multi-cultural 21st century" and you can hear the influences of that upbringing in his tracks, from laid back Americana to free flowing Nordic Indie, with some Indian vibes thrown in for good measure.
The album is free flowing and really likeable on 1st listen, notable too for the musical contributions from other musicians in the band, from the subtleties of the simple piano line in 'From A to B', to the beautiful cello in 'Big Change' - and the languid 'Navigator / Domesticator'. And whilst 'You're Moving Too Fast For Me' is definitely the highlight for me, the soft elegance of tracks such as 'Reach You' really stand out also.
I really like The Mukherjee Development, they write songs with genuine warmth, engaging flowing melodies and interesting lyrics. Meanwhile their social media profiles suggest they're having a real blast writing and recording their music, which is really important. They also clearly host amazing dinner parties too. Maybe I should bring the doughnuts though, the proper ones with the jam in the middle.
Find them on Facebook.