When I think of Norwegian music, the first thing that springs to mind is punishing doomy metal (eg Noxagt). Pom Poko, from Oslo, are different. They are also the flavour of the month with Marc Riley. This is, of course, always a decent stamp of approval.
They have a huge sense of fun and playfulness about them which inevitably makes them comparable to bands like Palm, Battles and Deerhoof.
On ‘Birthday’ this is so much so, that in some musical passages you could mistake them for Deerhoof. The singer, however, would more likely be mistaken for Joanna Newsom or The Cardigans’ Nina Persson.
Opener Theme #1 is a curious number that begins with the repeated phrase “sublime, sufficient” amidst a steady beat and guitar pings, scrapes and various cartoonish noises before launching into a frantic, twisting guitar lead section which wouldn’t be misplaced on an At The Drive-In record, before launching into another section that gives the first glimpse of some Deerhoof influence.
What strikes us about this band is they are so bold. They are not afraid to use effects at all, with guitars phasing, pitch-shifting and fuzzing out. The production is powerful, with everything upfront, which perhaps belies the band’s subtlety at times. Still, it makes for a frantic and fun listen.
Highlights here, for us, are the bonkers My Blood and Crazy Energy Night, the beautiful (and most subtle track) Honey and the rhythmically brilliant Milk Trust. The only slight misstep for us is My Work Is Full Of Art which, to be fair, brings out a different side of the band with a rather big pop anthem chorus. This will no doubt be their hit now I’ve said this!
You may enjoy this if you like: Deerhoof, Battles, Palm, Stereolab, Joanna Newsom.