Hailing from picturesque Bergen, Norway, synthpop quartet Casiokids are here to infect your ears with one of the best synth albums of this year, Aabenbaringen over aaskammen (The Revelation over the mountain), a winning combo of danceable beats, uptempo melodies and ethereal vocals. The album is the group’s second U.S. release, following up on 2010’s Topp Stemning På Lokal Bar (Great vibe at local bar).
It’s a daring venture to release not just one but two foreign language albums in the U.S., particularly when other Scandinavian indie and synth acts (The Whitest Boy Alive, Röyksopp, Miike Snow) have traditionally released in English, even in their native countries, not to mention France’s Phoenix or Germany’s The Notwist. Despite the apparent language wall, Casiokids are charging full speed ahead, compromising nothing and relying on the universally accessible nature of catchy hooks, vocal harmonies and tight production to carry them through.
There’s a wealth of stand-out tracks on this album. Gentle instrumental opener and album namesake “Aabenbaringen over aaskammen” transitions smoothly from tail-end forest sounds into the initially muted, but steadily climbing, marching pace of “Det Haster!” The first single off the album pounds along with a martial beat and wobbling synths. The third track, “Dresinen” combines a jaunty, uptempo beat with a great mix of both horn-like synths and distorted electric guitars that compliments a vocal delivery ranging from low and smooth to higher-pitched fragile wails.
Aabenbaringen over aaskammen is a great testament to the ability of music to transcend cultural and language barriers. You don’t need to understand Norwegian to pick up on the clear emotional tones of the vocals and danceable beats like these infect all people’s legs equally. Check out the stream of the Casiokids’ new album below.