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Suburban Savages: Kore Wa!

Having last been seen a decade ago under the name tr-Ond And The Suburban Savages, this Norwegian outfit reappear with a truncated name and their second album, Kore Wa!, meaning This Is! in Japanese. An Oriental influence can certainly be found here, but with their number also operating in outfits such as Panzerpapa, White Willow, Ghost Karaoke and Weserbergland the real flavours smack of avante-rock, psych, Krautrock and, as one of the songs suggests, "Pronk" - a mixture of prog and punk. If you imagine Cardiacs sitting in on a session with Zappa and riding along on synth led melody-riffs then you'd be some of the way to Kore Wa!.

Opening with a song titled "Fade Into Obscurity" may not be the most hopeful beginning but as a flute melody bites deep and layered vocals uplift the mood it's clear this keen jostle of guitars and synths outshines its name. "Pronk" adds more urgency, quick fire staccato fret bursts opening things out on the first of a number of instrumental cuts. With only seven tracks in all there's little fat here, even the more meandering "As I Am Dying" getting its message across quick smart, Suburban Savages' willingness to alter mood and tone within their songs leading to the illusion that there are more tracks on offer here than there actually are.

And yet themes come round from song to song a grab of a melody line here, a snatch of a riff there giving the album a real flow and purpose. The instrumental "Guzarondan" in that way reminds of "Pronk" but with its vastly altering pace and atmosphere it also evolves into something entirely different, more 'straight up' prog in the shape of Genesis brought to mind. "Von-Two-Step" plays out a merry, crazed dance, snare pops and keyboard chops swirling and twirling, before the album's title track provides a Sparks like craziness to proceedings. However it's the initial simplicity of "Docteur Mago" that really surprises, a clear keyboard stab and 80s electro-drums allowing the snare to jump on and off the beat as it sees fit, but as you might expect, nothing stays that simple, the whole song broken down and majestically rebuilt halfway through and closing this short album out in fine style.

For all its controlled crazy, Kore Wa! can, if you don't pay it enough mind, feel a little soft and fluffy, but as its intricacies unfold and play an ever stronger role, so everything slots into place. Once it does, this turns out to be a rewarding collection and one where its hidden depth is its real strength.


Track Listing
1. Fade Into Obscurity
2. Pronk
3. As I Am Dying
4. Guzarondan
5. Von two
6. Kore Wa!
7. Docteur Mago

Added: January 28th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Kore Wa! at bandcamp
Hits: 614
Language: english

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