There’s something about press releases that attracts me to study them in depth. Most often they are quite accurate about the content of their artists’ products (in my humble opinion), but sometimes they go off at a tangent with fine but flowery, superfluous language or, conversely, are too prosaic for the job they are trying to do, and sometimes, despite their best effort, they manage to undersell the artist.
On other occasions they reprint quotes from music and mainstream press that do the underselling for them. (Never from me, I should add, as I don’t do soundbites!)
You might argue that is case here, with Mall Girl, an Oslo-based full power trio (my phrase) which has built a solid reputation amongst the cognoscenti and drawn seemingly glowing testimonials from the likes of The Line of Best Fit and The Quietus which, I’m sorry to report, actually say little that is meaningful.
“Whatever direction they choose to follow, there is a real feeling that Mall Girl are a band at the beginning of something.”
“A riot of contrasts; stuttering drums and ragged peals of guitar are set against warm, effulgent vocals”.
(I read that as ‘effluent’ the first time!) Apparently it means ‘bright’.
I rest my case, m’lud.
Right, let’s get stuck into this. They’ve got a new album, their second, called ‘Pure Love’, which is scheduled to drop on 26th January 2024 via Jansen Records, the follow up to successful debut ‘Superstar’ (2022).
In the meantime they have released an “eccentric (an accurate PR observation) new single (and self-described ‘rock symphony’) called ‘Inzane’”, which will be the album’s opener.
They refer to themselves as “art-pop experimentalists” and describe the song as “making you feel like you’re going insane, on a normal Monday.”
Worse still if you don’t like Mondays anyway, what say you Bob?
If ‘rock symphony’ prompts you to anticipate ‘Tommy’, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘Rockaria!’ or something from a symphonic metal band, forget it.
Instead, try to imagine a mélange of half a dozen different styles rolled up into a single dish for your delectation.
In five minutes and 40 seconds ‘Inzane’ encompasses:
The Last Post being played on a hurdy gurdy; something off King Crimson’s ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’ (with and without a string accompaniment); a Martin Tonne guitar riff straight out of the Pom Poko songbook; a Haley Shea (Sløtface) vocal passage; a full orchestral string section bridge; sloppy dream pop; a ballad; and a yacht rock guitar solo that morphs into something Led Zeppelin might have played.
And all with an undercurrent of free form jazz.
Not the sort of thing you’re likely to hear while you’re shopping in any mall, from Oslo to Sherman Oaks.
When you dissect it clinically it really shouldn’t work but in actuality it does and helping it along is a beguiling vocal from Bethany Forseth-Reichberg who has the only upper-class sounding name I’ve ever come across out of Norway.
Does it make you feel like you’re going insane, like Bethany? Well I wouldn’t play it while you’re shaving, first thing Monday morning, let’s put it that way.
With deference to The Line of Best Fit Mall Girl aren’t at the beginning of anything, they’ve well and truly arrived.
(Full version, there is also a shorter radio edit).
Mall Girl are:
Bethany Forseth-Reichberg (vocals)
Iver Armand Tandsether (guitar)
Veslemøy Narvesen (drums)
Find them on: