Total Hip Replacement - ‘Arena’ (single)
I’ve mentioned previously, albeit slightly in jest, that the most important consideration for Nordic bands when choosing a name should be how easy it is for me to google their name. This probably originated from listening to an early release by Norwegian band The Fjords, and spending a good hour searching through pictures of erm…. fjords, before I found anything useful on them. The excellent quirky British prog pop band The Nature Centre have the same issue, as to an extent do Danish soul funk reggae outfit Total Hip Replacement. I’m now an expert on which Danish hospitals offer the best orthopaedic care.
Thankfully Total Hip Replacement have developed such an excellent reputation as a live band, touring the world with their interesting blend of musical styles, that it’s pretty easy to track down what they’ve been up to. And those guys have had an incredible few years, touring Scandinavia, wider Europe, Africa and even more improbably Kent, a place that I’ve only read about in books.
In terms of formal releases they’ve been pretty busy too. A couple of EPs were released in 2015 and 2016, before the band focussed on their debut full length, which was released in 2018. Entitled 'Wonder Why' it’s a sophisticated and well produced release which showcases the versatility in sound of the band.
New single ‘Arena’ is the 1st glimpse of a new album, due (along with many others) in October. There’s an interesting theme behind the song, and one which I haven’t heard previously, where they consider the conflict a musician has trying to produce music with integrity, but also wanting to make something that is accessible and that people easily can take part in.. As band member Victor explains, “I also see this conflict about entertainment value and the role of the arts in a broader societal level, where in Denmark big football stadiums are opening up during corona before small live-music venues.”
I probably wouldn’t reach for this style of music instinctively, but that’s my loss, because ‘Arena’ is a powerful track, the fusion of electronic sounds and rhythms provide an interesting backdrop, and then the brass instrumentation takes the track away into a different direction. Vocally it sounds great, and I can imagine the whole thing would be a pretty immersive experience live.
Take a listen here.
Incidentally there's some lovely stage footage of them on Facebook performing in Mali. You can find more details on their website, or on Facebook or Instagram.
Also given I've name checked them, and they are so difficult to track down, this is The Nature Centre.