31 (noisy) songs
Listen to “No Admission To Dream.” Is it playing? Good.
Quite a title, huh? And you know what? They mean it. This is the pompous title of their song, this is the sentiment they are going to be expressing. Drama in the guy’s singing (Morten N. Carlsen is the singer), vast soundscape by means of reverb and excessive distortion in the 87 or so guitar tracks they recorded for this song (if you are perceptive you will soon realize that, for me, “excess in the use of reverb and distortion” is an utterly theoretical hypothesis, without tangible examples in the physical world), pounding and thundering and hammering from the rhythm section. At any rate, the ¾ time signature is evidence that melodrama was cheekily the composer’s goal from the moment he thought up the melody. What I’m saying is, they are ambitious and consistent. I believe we can agree on this.
Now then, would you agree with me if I told you they pulled it off? (And who can decide who is right or wrong? Were the Smiths an exquisite band? The mere fact that we’ve all been indoctrinated that there’s absolutely no question they were unsurpassable and so on leaves me no choice but to disagree.) But even if we agree to disagree, in the sense that “everything is subjective and blah, blah, blah,” here we clearly have a band that, if nothing else, has opted to walk a very fine line: these Danes are doing something that’s been done many times before (the post-punk + shoegaze thing) and they are doing it with intense and penetrating externalization of feeling (i.e. they are drama queens, straight up). This puts them right in the middle of the danger zone, and knowingly so. These guys are asking for it and we have license to kill.
I believe I have convinced you on the honesty of their intentions and their courage. What’s left? Imagination in the composition, prowess in the performance, rigor at recording, mixing and producing. So I will go all subjective and, without any reservations, declare: most of the songs in this album are really beautiful and melodic, the musicianship is excellent, the sound engineering is careful and with attention to detail (and all over the place too, these are shoegazers, remember?). There is enough variety in the sounds, electro elements have found their way in quite a few songs, rhythms and moods alternate in the right order, plenty of amazing songs are strategically placed to justify this project: I find the album excellent.
In short, if you like your shoegaze with a touch of drama and a lot of dark, check out a few tracks.
A nice video for one of the more upbeat songs of the album, so you can check them out in live action: