Rain in Aarhus
Tales From the Forest
No Milk Today
Bright as the Sun
Oro Jaska Beana
Gold Lion (Live Storås 2009)
Move over, Disney
Songs about cross-dressers, fat dogs and shit-talking emo kids. The teen music scene just got interesting.
Disney has for a long time ruled the teen music scene with an iron fist. The Disney Channel's been responsible for the birth and continuous rise of the squeaky-clean cast of High School Musical, Billy Ray's Miley Cyrus and purity ring-promoters the Jonas Brothers. While these teens have perfect hair and perfect lives, most adolescents are busy squeezing their pimples, feeling awkward and discovering the true power of their sweat glands. What a relief then, to hear a Norwegian teen band tear a big fat hole in the sugar-coated Disney fantasy by snaring in the aptly titled Punk Revolution, "where's the real music?"
The Blacksheeps consist of four punk-rocking teens from Nesseby in Finnmark with an average age of 15,75. Together they bang out musical relatives of Pink and Avril Lavigne with a hunger and honesty that helped them win both the Norwegian and the Nordic Junior Eurovision finals in 2008, and secured them a Spellemann award for best song. Their winning entry, Oro Jaska Beana, was also put on heavy rotation on the national radio channel P3, a gesture that signalled that the band wasn't just good enough for children, it was good enough for the Norwegian music police.
On an album consisting of a couple of covers (a rocked-up version of Herman Hermit's No Milk Today and a live acoustic performance of Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Gold Lion), unsubtle Blondie references (the vocals on Punk Revolution's chorus reek of Debbie Harry), a compulsory rock-album ballad (Bak Skyen) and a handful of pumping punk-rock cuts, Oro Jaska Beana and Edwin are the definite stand-out tracks. Not only do the simple guitar hooks make them ridiculously catchy, they're also thematically amusing: Oro Jaska Beana is about a fat dog that eats so much it falls ill, and Edwin about a cross-dressing boy who wants to be a girl.
Oro Jaska Beana and Edwin are two of a few songs on the album sung in Norwegian and Sami. The Blacksheeps' first languages are their trump cards, it's when they sound strong, confident and edgy. As soon as they switch to English, they lose a good chunk of what makes them unique, and tumble into the pool of anonymous American college rock.
The Blacksheeps' debut might not hit all the right buttons, but for a band with plenty of years ahead to improve, it's a promising release. So move over, Disney, because the teen scene just got interesting.
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