-Album Reviewed by Diana Mumford–
Katzenjammer is a German word used in Norway to describe music that is considered uncouth and lowbrow. Katzenjammer, the band, however, produces music that is lively, fun, and bold. The band members Anne Marit Bergheim, Marianne Sveen, Solveig Heilo, and Turid Sørgensen all take turns at writing songs, singing lead, and collectively play a variety of over 20 different instruments.
Katzenjammer combines the brash experimentation from their first album, Le Pop, and the genre diversity from their second album, A Kiss Before You Go, to create Rockland, the third album from the Norwegian quartet.
Rockland encompasses all genres from creeping blues, country, folk songs, and rockabilly vibes. Their first single, Lady Grey, is an upbeat song drawn from band member and former nurse, Marianne Sveen’s experience with her first Alzheimer’s patient. Sveen says she made up stories about her patient, but never learned her patient’s past because the woman had no family to visit. Taking the lead on this song, “I wonder where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve seen,” Sveen sings. The playful melody, combined with her lilting voice make for a sweet, introspective song that shows a gentler side to the bawdy Katzenjammer crew.
Not all of Katzenjammer’s experimentation is a hit. The band’s first attempt at electronic hip-hop falls flat in, Oh My God. In this number, the haltingly pronounced lyrics and drudging instrumentation distract from the band’s musical talent. A song that mentions a Snuffelupagus and Hello Kitty, however, can’t be completely bad. Katzenjammer’s daring effort is commendable, although Oh My God slows down the pacing in an otherwise solid album.
Rockland is truly a collaborative effort from the Katzenjammer ladies. This album will finally allow Katzenjammer to enter US airwaves and be in the world spotlight. Although Katzenjammer is currently touring in Europe, Rockland‘s projected popularity gives hope for an eventual US tour.
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