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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 214 - 02/15/14

Silent Treatment
Propeller Recordings

I never seem to learn. Highasakite was appointed the next big thing by some music critics in Norway when the band released the somewhat indie-pop'ish debut All That Floats Will Rain in 2012. By now all national reviewers seem to agree that Highasakite is the big thing. And there supposedly are lots of interest from abroad as well.

Silent Treatment was released in Norway in the beginning of February and will be launched in TROTW (the rest of the world) in early March. And the band will be touring the album in several countries in western Europe and a couple in the USA from now until April. So I thought I'd better check it out. But it's something about me and mainstream pop of the last 30 or 40 years. We normally don't seem to match. The songs are not bad, and they're varied, to some extent. Highasakite seem to have shred off the indie trademark. This is mature pop with some occasional folky influences from home and abroad. Some have compared them with 1980s and 90s heroes of Nordic cool independent pop Bel Canto. Well, maybe a little bit. The radio hit "Since Last Wednesday" last autumn is quite catchy. My favourite of the album is without any doubt "My Only Crime". It's definitely the most down to earth arranged song, dominated only by zither (great choice!) and vocals.

Songwriter and lead vocalist Ingrid Helene Håvik [who put out a solo album called Babylove back in November, simply as Ingrid - editor's note] has a good and characteristic voice. The treatment of instruments are impressive. Still I find Silent Treatment quite uninteresting on the whole. After listening several times I've come to the conclusion that it has to do with the arrangements and production. Most of the songs receive too much reverb that gives them a pompous and 1980'ish distinctive feature. Especially the drums of some tracks sound bombastic because of it, but the voices and other instruments are infected, too. I don't mind pompous or 1980s music in the right doses and surroundings. Here it works like eating too many pieces of cream cake with marzipan coating. After a while one tends to get sick. For me the name of the band seems to refer more to sound and production out of proportions than the apparent drug reference.

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