Norway. Officially titled Kingdom of Norway, this northern European country of 4.5 million people is best known for its beautiful fjords, cold climate, having the highest GDP in the world…and being a hot bed of musical talent? Harrys Gym and Katzenjammerare two very different, and more than very decent, bands to emerge.
The Norwegian seasonal cycles of six months of darkness followed by six months of light must do weird things to the mind. The evidence of Harrys Gym suggests that it must also do wonderful things for the music. In equal parts forbidding and frozen and delicate and personal, the hazy vibes of this four piece encapsulate the raw reality of the human experience. New single ‘Attic’ is a narcotic swirl of forceful intimacy that pulses along with intensity. Synths are enmeshed in a soulful swirling of slow guitars, and the captivatingly androgynous vocals intertwined are muscular and poetic, like a gossamer metal, or something equally incongruous. The bleak terrain of ice and all its frosty desolation has never been so appealing.
Take four captivating girls, thirty odd instruments, at least a dozen genres, stir it all together, chuck in some sparkle, and what do you have. Katzenjammer! This feisty raucous hodgepodge of folk, pop, Balkan, Mississipi country played on the tuba, balalaika, banjo, kazoo, glockenspiel, amongst others is wonderfully energetic, serotonin in a song. Hugely talented, Turid, Anne, Marienne and Solvig rotate instruments between and during songs, their scintillating charisma connecting with the audience, and ensuring that the sea shanty esque ‘To The Sea’ or farcical ‘A Bar In Amsterdam’ fall as far from gimmickery as they potentially could be. Single ‘Tea With Cinnamon’ is a sprightly and scintillating twee take on heartbreak. Katzenjammer’s kooky caberet is a reminder of the way entertainment once left audiences, before gloom became cool – beaming like the Cheshire cat on E, effervescent with excitement, loving life, and exclaiming ‘Paaartyyyyyyy!’