When I first heard of Norwegian five-piece, Broen some moons ago, I fell hard for their debut single, the deliciously melodic ‘Iris’ with its sighing synth, yearning harmonic chorus and rippling frissons of guitar played by the charismatic Lars Ove Fossheim, who I had the pleasure of meeting earlier this year, in his other guise of David Byrne vocal doppelganger and one quarter of Trondheim indie outfit, Snøskred.
I had let Broen slip from my mind, but now that this gentle reminder had put them back on my radar, and after some retro-investo, I fell back in love with their music.
You can imagine my delight then, when this new little bundle of fun landed in my inbox! Oh my God, ‘No, My God’, was a very welcome and much needed uplifting tonic on a tired, dark night!
“Tiny legs, tiny arms, tiny feet”
You know you’re on the left-of-left-of-centre, when you’re listening to music by a band that has a tuba player in its line-up. Yup. How many experimental bands are you aware of that have a tuba player? And, a female tuba player at that! Go Heida!!
With bases dotted around Europe, Broen comprises Anja Lauvdal (synths), Lars Ove Fossheim (guitar), Hans Hulbækmo (drums), Heida Karine Johannesdottir Mobeck (tuba), and Marianna S. A. Røe (vocals).
In the week that saw the results of a recent Ipsos survey reveal that for the first time in Norway’s history, the majority of its population no longer believes in God, this is a rather fortuitously timed release, for the aptly named ‘No, My God’, lead track from upcoming EP, ‘Yoga’ due out in May.
Following the current Norwegian song-writing trend of masking probing lyrics with a melodic shield of irrepressible positivity, the song challenges ‘righteousness’, both worldly and godly, in terms relative to a society in which #sick gen zedders document their shambolic lives via a continuum of alco-pop fuelled, bleary-eyed insta-snaps.
“Me and my friends go bumping round in high heel wearing tiny dresses,
Roaming around with nothing special to do watching random faces
Having a drink or two will calm my senses, answer questions (…) You might think I’ve gone mad!”
Despite having all the appearances of wackiness, ‘No, My God’ has its musical head screwed on. Straight from the soundtrack of ‘Ice Age 5 – The Dance of the Dinosaurs’, this bouncing bundle of superficial happiness, is a magical medley of caustic lyrics clothed in craziness, zany ‘muppet’ noises, plodding elephantine bass and bubbling guitar melodies. Even more interestingly, it is a song with two musical and vocal personalities, being spliced in the middle by a rap section that sees a seismic shift in tempo and instrumental sound.
The genius lyrics are laid out crazy paving style: phrasal slates like “champagne bubbling down the drain”, “party of T-Rexes”, “freaky dresses” “religious tangerines” and “dinosaur magazines” are tightly cemented together while their two-tone delivery adds an additional unorthodox quirk. In line with the style change, the mid-point also sees a dramatic vocal shift as Marianna Røe flicks from delightful lilt to free verse hip hop, rapped with an ‘American’ ‘fluenced accent.
Musically, this is a bass driven track of “mammoth” proportions: the heavy pump of the trudging tuba and lumbering bass bring to mind a trunk swinging mastodon, dancing happily if a little awkwardly, in a haze of sunny melodies. Amidst the madness, is a meandering stream of sparkling guitar riffs, that bubbles beautifully over an earthen anchor of synth-bass, siren noises and lugubrious, heavy percussion.
This swaggering cheeky chappy has all the spark of the B52s and sting of Talking Heads: its zany qualities and Brontosaurus bassy heaviness appealing to my childish nature, while the incisive sabre-toothed bite of its thought-provoking theme engages my more mature self.
Here Broen have created the ultimate fantasy-scape in which they have allowed their imaginations to run wild. By blending a bevvy of happy, sunny melodies with heavy bass-driven sounds, smart-ass quick fire hip hop and an invective lifted straight from the urban dictionary, they have crafted a uniquely ingenious song that encapsulates the very essence of their ambiguous style and idiosyncratic appeal.
‘No, My God’ will be available digitally for stream/download from 25th March. It is taken from Broen’s forthcoming EP ‘Yoga’, due for release on 6th May, via 0E0E.