If Norwegian five-piece Highasakite get ‘propelled’ any higher by the hyperbolic hot air rising from the escritoires of the UKs music media cognoscenti, they’ll be holding their ‘Camp Echo’ launch party somewhere mid stratosphere, on the dark side of the moon. Such is the profusion of praise being poured forth by the likes of Vogue, Best Fit and Guardian Music, that Norway’s record-breaking chart toppers are currently riding higher than if they were being buoyed up by the billowing breeze of a warm sirocco. Deservedly so? Undoubtedly!
Highaskite have worked the circuit, toured the tours, and gigged the gigs, but more importantly they have written some of the best indie-pop songs to come out of Norway in the past two years. Since they debuted their album, ‘Silent Treatment‘, in early 2014, it has broken every Norwegian album chart record since time immemorial, read about it here.
A plethora of melodic, attention grabbing hit singles and a European tour supporting Icelandic behemoth ‘Of Monsters And Men’, have firmly established Highasakite on the scenes outside of Norway where they already have a solid fan-base and firm foothold. In advance of their new album, ‘Camp Echo’, eta 20th May, and as a follow on from killer track, ‘Someone Who’ll Get It’ with it’s darker than dark visual, Highasakite has announced the release of a second single, ‘Golden Ticket’ which will hit the ‘musicverse’ on Friday 8th and I’m delighted to be able to share this poptastic song with you here!
Skipping Summer Sun synths open up the track, fooling and beguiling the listener with their happy shiny people demeanour. Be warned, ‘Golden Ticket’ is the classic Norwegian iron fist in a velvet glove. Underneath all the delightful, irradiant melodies and beautiful harmonies, lies a lyrical rapier that cuts through the saccharine loveliness of the songs overlying poppiness.
‘Golden Ticket’ opens with the words, “God, if you’re still watching”, a notion influenced by a post WW2 poem by influential modernist Norwegian poet, Gunvor Hofmo, a verse described by frontwoman, Ingrid Helene Håvik as: “Norway’s funeral blues.”
By way of further explanation she adds, “It’s a very famous verse, and was used a lot around the time of the Norwegian terrorist attacks [Oslo and Utøya, 2011]. The song is very much about escapism, both escaping yourself and the world; just wanting to get high and get out, basically.”
One of Highasakite’s USPs is their percussive sound. Like Christian Rindorff did for fellow Nordic music bedfellows, Palace Winter, drummer Trond Bersu has carefully developed an instantly recognisable percussive technique that gives the band a unique identifier of its own. Working in perfect harmony with slacker basslines and beating its way through voluminous waves of synth melodies that are more Coldplay than Coldplay itself, the overall combined effect is kick-ass vintage Erasure-esque pop (think early 90s) on the outside, and disgruntled seethe on the inside.
The other Highasakite USP is Håvik’s idiosyncratic earthy vocal, with its velvet draped delivery. As intriguing as ever, her effortlessly controlled, ink-dipped contralto has an incredibly compelling timbre that is both raw and feisty, charming and hard-edged, while her tone is convincing and powerful.
Side-stepping its more ferocious predecessors, ‘Golden Ticket’ curtsies to more pop sensibilities than Highasakite has previously drawn on. Made up of a plethora of catchy, inviting sounds, don’t let its superficial uplifting vibe fool you into thinking that this is yet another three minute trite pop wonder. Far from it. This is a clever mismatch of light and shade, a golden glow of instrumental lustre dimmed and tarnished by the acidic pitch of the lyrics.
‘Golden Ticket’s’ extroverted, bubbly personality cajoles the listener, jollying them along into thinking they are being taken on a fun-filled day trip to a place in the sun. The harsh reality though, is that they are being blindly led down a dark alley filled with brooding shadows, from which they, like Håvik, can only escape if they first escape themselves. #GetOut
Marte Eberson (synth) Øystein Skar (synth) Ingrid Helene Håvik (vox) Trond Bersu (drums) Kristoffer Lo (guitars)
Highasakite is about to embark on a Summer long tour of the UK/EU and festival circuit, see details below. ‘Golden Ticket’, which goes on release this Friday, 8th April, is the second single from Highasakite’s forthcoming LP ‘Camp Echo’, due out 20th May via Propeller Recordings. The album, see track list below, is now available to pre-order here.
Highasakite play Whelans, Dublin on 22nd May, followed by The Deaf Institute Manchester, on 23rd and Village Underground London, on the 24th. On the festival circuit they are scheduled to play both The Great Escape and Latitude and will be the Norwegian headline at Øyafestivalen on 12th August (and I already have my spot booked! X).
‘CAMP ECHO’ – TRACK LIST
- My Name Is Liar
- Samurai Swords
- Someone Who´ll Get It
- My Mind Is A Bad Neighborhood
- God Don’t Leave Me
- I Am My Own Disease
- Golden Ticket
- Deep Sea Diver