On the heels of Skyscraper’s relaunch, we’ll be reviewing a number of records from mid-to-late 2010 that we missed out on covering during our semi-hiatus. Sort of a “what we missed” series of reviews, emphasizing both some of the best releases of 2010 and some of the year’s most interesting but overlooked records. This is one of those.
It’d be easy to pity Casiokids, at least in terms of musical life choices. Despite kitchen-sink-pop’s mid-aughties shark hop (remember Rehearsing My Choir?), the Norwegian band’s still dazed and amazed by the genre’s hyper-produced mélange, bobbing along like its clubby lil’ bro. Kids’ Sigur Róssish gift for other-y gibberish and affection for their influences’ booty-shaking undertones make for a streamlined musical sugar pill. Where groups like Architecture in Helsinki and Field Music may have fumbled with Art via Rube Goldberg-like song structures and all manner of knob-twiddling wizardry, Casiokids pursue a humbler goal. They want you to have a good, if somewhat familiar, time.
To their credit, Casiokids succeed on Topp stemning på lokal bar, mostly because reverence manages to keep their source material from feeling overcooked or, worse, old. Songs like “Verdens største land,” with its punched up LCD Soundsystem beat, and Vampire Weekend-cum-hip-hop workout “En ville hest” work markedly well as ego-less dancefloor clutter, marrying their forbears’ punchy production with the good vibe (topp stemning) they appear to desire from their ur-lokal bar. “Fot i hose,” another standout, compresses the band’s appeal into a three-minute backbeat bon bon, managing to recall some of 2003’s more resonant thrills by fusing bottomless DFA bass and Out Hud-style propulsion. The band’s tasteful appropriation masks real skill, too. Under layers of frictionless beats and buzz, Casiokids have a knack for playful, hypnotic harmony (“Togens hule”), high-functioning drum machinery, and synth subtlety belying their namesake’s chintz. When it comes to their chosen style, Casiokids might as well be savants, lending their record a relaxed and relaxing confidence. The range here is narrow, sure, but the band doesn’t misstep – they’re intimate with this terrain and proceed accordingly.
Topp stemning på lokal bar isn’t all precise, easy fun – forgettable instrumentals make up a full quarter of the record, almost unforgivable for an eight-track stateside introductory disc – but, much like Bergen scenemates Datarock and Annie, Casiokids have a gift for pop resurrection, painting a shiny Eurodisco coat over tropes their westerly brethren have all but discarded. If Topp stemning leans a little hard on its affable musical Esperanto, so what? For those missing last decade’s attempts at a herky-jerky indie pop Babel, Casiokids have provided a platter full of head-nodding comfort food.Visit: Casiokids | Polyvinyl
Purchase: Insound | eMusic