Friends of Bellman, Stereopol are another Norwegian band who released their debut album, ‘Timbres and Phrases’ in November last year. They haven’t travelled far out of their native country so far, especially the beautiful Oslo, but you imagine it won’t be long before they head into further unknown territories. Describing themselves as ‘grand and cinematic’, the album was recorded in the wonderful pop band Harrys Gym’s recording studio. There seems to be a real buzz about the Norwegian scene at the moment, can Stereopol be part of this?
‘Timbres’ opens the album with incidental post-rock atmospherics and works up as an introduction to ‘Northern Lights Shuffle’, a song released as the lead single. With drums beating along and a beat that recalls Foals’ early moments, this is a dancey slice of indie-pop with the vocals very much at the forefront. They definitely know the exact sound they’re looking for and ‘Fourteen Dreams’ with its lyrics of ‘Close your eyes, fall back right in your mind’ is reminiscent of The Airborne Toxic Event at their most frenetic. The slow-burning introduction of ‘Lament’ sees the band play about with effects, while bass thumps throughout, leaving an indelible mark on your eardrums.
‘The Pit’ seems to be one of the deepest and most introspective sons on the album as a list of maybes and different options are considered by the singer Stig Frogner, while the keyboards clash with harmonies to end the song in a very loud way. ‘Phrases’ shows the band delving into math-rock territory, although with a blues vibe thrown in for good measure and ‘Woodland Waltz’ is the highlight of the album. Instantly memorable, the electronica-tinged song has visceral lyrics, ‘Some say you’re heading for the ocean, some say you’re heading for the desert’, that keep you guessing and intrigued. The duet on ‘Higher & Higher’ is unexpected and all the stronger for it. It’s dark, mysterious and the dual vocals work in perfect harmony. There’s also a proggy direction as the song build up to a fairyground music-style climax. The big ending of ‘Maybe tonight’ – features a repeated chorus that is reminiscent of Blur at the height of Britpop and as the music builds up more and more in pace, the song gathers more momentum before dissolving into one last minute of subtle and restrained noise. So the answer is yes, Stereopol are another fine addition to Norway’s glut of wondrous indie-pop bands.
Listen to Timbres & Phrases on Spotify.