I warn you now that this will probably make your brain hurt. There’s a lot going on with this song and you won’t take it all in at the first attempt. You’re going to have to orbit ‘The World’ to see it in a holistic perspective.
NEW KIDS is a Danish band that paints itself as an ‘indie collective’. They’ve got an album coming up titled ‘Inger’, (a Danish name) to be released on 24th March. This track, ‘The World’ is the second single from it, ‘Antlife’ having been the first. ‘Antlife’ prompted me to think of Blur’s ‘Parklife’ – simple word association I suppose – and I’ll return to Blur later.
Now the routine stuff is out of the way let’s get down to business. Rune Lohse, the song composer, drummer and front man, says,
“‘The World’ is a ritual of traditional drumming and Coca Cola and prince light. Get into your body with these devices and transcend your culture.” Hm. Not quite sure what that means but perhaps we aren’t meant too.
While there is form to it there’s a lot of experimentation and improvisation going on here too. Some bands can get away with that, such as Norway’s Pom Poko with their regimented then suddenly explosive math rock, which gets jammed all over the place in live shows. In contrast the UK’s black midi can’t: skilful musicians indeed, but too pretentious by far. “Look, no hands.” You get the idea.
I admit too that I was concerned by the comment about the album that it “reflects life’s paradoxicality and multifaceted layers of meaning in both form, substance and thematics: Ambiguity in art, mistakes in music, honesty, anarchy, pain, love, and how all things are also multiple things.” Que? It could be a line from Shakespeare.
NEW KIDS was formed, the PR tells me, “from the wish to create relatable pop music implementing improvisation, mistakes and unpredictability.”
Ok, that’s something I can get my teeth into. But relatable to what? To the lives of the listeners? Well, as mistakes and unpredictability are part of everyone’s lives they shouldn’t find much difficulty in attracting an audience that is singing from the same hymn sheet.
Let’s cut to the chase here because a conversation could go on all night.
Imagine something that starts off like an Indian wedding ceremony in a Bollywood film then progresses over the course of five and a half minutes by way of vocals that vary from falsetto to baritone through a soft rock section into a Blur-like pastiche complete with Damon Albarn voice, then into a prog-psych section that invokes King Crimson and Jethro Tull then back to Blur and then into an extended section that channels Talking Heads before playing out with an oriental percussion theme you might listen to in an ornate Japanese garden while sipping green tea. That pretty much sums it up.
Forget verse, chorus and bridge. They belong in a different metaverse altogether while time signatures are, let’s say, fluid.
I once reviewed a live show by a musician from my home town, Kiran Leonard, who was getting rave reviews in the music press. He and his band played music just like his and his future was assured they said. Last I heard of him he’d gone back to university to study foreign languages.
That can happen when you deviate too far from ‘the norm.’ I hope NEW KIDS stay firmly on the block (they’ve been around since 2016 so all good there) and I hope they find a big enough audience globally to stick with what they do and that they get airplay where they can (there are stations in the UK – even the BBC – which cater specifically to ‘formless’ improvisation music).
NEW KIDS stems from songwriter and musician Rune Lohse, who has been a part of Danish impro music for the last decade while contributing to bands such as Tuhaf, Horse Orchestra and Klimaforandringer (who we have featured this year).
Even though Lohse is NEW KIDS’s creative basis, the band is a collective of friends, which have been playing together in different contexts prior to the formation. Their 2016 debut album was ‘Leonida’ then in 2018 came ‘Collective Fruits’ and along the way, the band has played a string of shows in Denmark.
They are perfectionists for sure. ‘Inger’ came into being during Covid, which dictated a different process for the band than earlier. The material was scrutinised and examined and along the way, almost a whole album was ditched, before the album at hand assumed its final shape.
The prevailing theme is distress and chaos, but embraces rather than shuns life’s paradoxes
New Kids is:
Rune Lohse – Drums and vocals
Anders Filipsen – Keyboards
Joel Gjærsbøl – Guitar
Henrik Olsson – Guitar
Nicolai Claesson – Bass
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