Norwegian band Hajk May15

Tags

Related Posts

Share This

Norwegian band Hajk

Hajk – Hajk debut album

Norwegian band Hajk is the new kid on the block for indie and pop, and already they are gaining traction in the charts. Their first release Common Sense was listed by Norwegian radio immediately after launch, and the follow up single to that – Magazine – was received extremely well internationally. They have already played at three Norwegian festivals and were listed by radio again straight away, barely after they had even finished their set.

Their highly anticipated self-titled debut album will be released on 28th April by Jansen Plateproduksjon to their baying audience after the third and final single release before that date. With all the hubbub surrounding this new Oslo five-piece, I was all too intrigued to see what they had to offer.

Their style of indie pop is not my usual taste, but I found myself extremely impressed with the entire release as it weaved its comforting lullaby with melodic vocals and harmonious instrumentation. First track Magazine is a soft and floaty track, with a hint of a Lily Allen feel as Sigrid Aase struts her dreamy vocals amongst the distinctive keys. Her vocals are strong and extremely impressive, immediately captivating the listener with her siren song.

Left to Say starts with powerful vocals from Preben Andersen, the male singer of Hajk who shares the vocalist duties with Sigrid, yet still maintains the same dreamy vibe and airy synths of the previous track. There is the similar sound of distortion from the keys as before, and it is immediately obvious why the band were such a hit with the radio stations to begin with, their poppy, commercial sound a sure-fire success story with mainstream airplay.

Next track is Flowerdust, which is ironically the most pessimistic and downbeat track of the album so far, which deceives with its upbeat backing. Sigrid’s vocals are back, but this time she is in unison with Preben which is a beautiful concoction. Her vocals are sublime and remind me a lot of the singing style from little known band The Damn Truth. Common Sense starts with a funky riff and galactic sounding keys, making it an extremely upbeat track with vocals from Preben that sound purposefully distant. It is a happy and upbeat track, with ‘commercial hit’ written all over it. The next track Medicine returns with Sigrid’s vocals, and is beautifully melodic, with a catchy and gentle tune.

Best Friend belongs straight in the Eighties with the galactic distortion it begins with back again. It is another optimistic ditty with a jovial beat, yet the lyrics actually reveal the true misery behind the track. It is a truly deceiving little surprise with the release, but it never suffers for it – instead becoming one of the better tracks on the album.

I Don’t Remember and My Enemy are both tracks that also follow the precedent the album has been set in, with the vocalists taking turns and alternating each track; with one assisting the other throughout. More of the same as instilled with Best Friend, with upbeat, jovial instrumentation but melancholy and depressing lyrics. Both tracks have a nice little filler from the bass guitar in the middle, making a pleasant unanticipated change from the keys that have been the main dominant instrument so far.

Not Anymore breaks the established pattern of the album, utilising Preben’s vocals again with Sigrid backing him. The track riffs heavily on an Eighties vibe, with an unexpected harkening back to Limahl’s Neverending Story rushing to mind at the two minute mark. It is a very cool track, and makes a very compelling case for the strength of this fledgling band.

The final track is Somebody Else, which finalises the end of the release perfectly; becoming the embodiment of everything that Hajk stand for squeezed together in a four minute track. It starts with melancholy keys and sombre vocals from female vocalist Sigrid; expressing a deep and meaningful sentiment in the dreamy package of her soft lyrics, lyrics which are bound to hit the listener hard. A truly stunning finale to the release from the Norwegian upstarts.

I can truly understand why Hajk are already gaining popularity and radioplay in their native Norway and now even the USA – they really have got something special going on. It has all the hallmarks of top drawer commercial pop music, and it is entirely clear to me they are going to take off in a big way. The mix of contrasting vocals with the sometimes melodramatic but mainly upbeat melodies is extremely compelling, and something they have hit perfectly on the head. Not one thing overpowers the other, nor does anything need to overcompensate for the other – it all works in harmony very well indeed. To me this is a very intriguing new release, and a band to keep a very close eye on in the future.

Niki Flynn

468 ad