There’s an irony in the renewed interest of folk music. As we become more and more advanced with technology, it seems like more and more people are getting into folk music. But with groups like Katzenjammer popping up, I’m certainly not complaining.
Katzenjammer is a quartet of Oslo-based females who collectively are self-taught in 29 instruments (and apparently counting). With a refreshing and catchy mix of rock, pop and folk — with assorted other influences sprinkled in for good measure — they’ve caught their home country by storm.
And if all of that isn’t enough to catch your attention, the music on their debut, Le Pop, certainly will. All the tracks stand strong individually, and yet are so well written and arranged that the album could easily pass as a concept album.
Starting off the record is “Overture,” which features an eerie atmospheric buildup complemented with beautiful accordion playing. But with the next track, “A Bar In Amsterdam,” the band bursts open the door with confidence like John Wayne in a Western. Fast paced, epic, and catchy, “A Bar In Amsterdam” was certainly the right choice as one of the album’s singles.
“Tea With Cinnamon” follows in a similar fashion, yet stands on it’s own two feet.
“Le Pop” is what European folk, power pop and a carnival would sound like if combined. The song is also insanely catchy and energetic, and I fear it’ll be taking up residence in my head for a while. “Der Kapitan” and “Hey Ho On The Devil’s Back” show a darker side of the band, yet are still just as catchy and dynamic. “Ain’t No Thing” showcases that Katzenjammer’s vocalist has serious pipes, as well as the band playing around with a country twang. They even master the ballad beautifully, as demonstrated on “Mother Superior” and “Wading in Deeper.”
Katzenjammer is absolutely refreshing to hear. In a world where most mainstream music is lacking diversity and artistic ability, Katzenjammer provides an alternative that is equally catchy and well produced. We would all be very lucky if there were more ambitious groups like Katzenjammer around, and if time had taken a different course, this band would have been at the top of the pile.
Mesmerizing, memorable, and marvelously well made, Le Pop is an album worth every cent. And with a promising debut like this, I hope we’ll be hearing more of them soon.
- Katzenjammer, based in Oslo, Norway, is: Anne Marit Bergheim, Turid Jørgensen, Solveig Heilo and Marianne Sveen.
- Le Pop is available on iTunes for $9.99.
- The band was to play a show at Schubas on Sunday, October 17, but that doesn’t appear to be happening anymore. Future Chicago dates to come. Sad face.
“A Bar in Amsterdam” official music video