Fresh from playing a raucous and sold out album launch party at London’s Shacklewell Arms, Norwegian noise-makers Pom Poko have sold out their headline show at The Lexington in April and have now added a Scala headline show to their UK tour in October.
The band will play Scala on Weds 23rd October and tickets for the new show are now on sale here. Today’s tour news coincides with an Album of theDay feature on BBC 6 Music for the band’s debut album, ‘Birthday’, which is out now on Bella Union. Between the Norwegian quartet’s sweetly punky melodies and disco-fried art-rock eruptions, a spirit of free-firing, balls-out individuality courses through their exhilarating debut.
We’re delighted to share with you all today the debut album from Norwegian quartet Pom Poko. To celebrate they will perform a free show tonight at The Shacklewell Arms in London. Get ready for a Crazy Energy Night!
Pom Poko are Ragnhild (lead vocals), Ola (Drums), Jonas (Bass) and Martin (Guitar). The 4 met whilst all studying at the Trondheim Music Conservatory in Norway and quickly garnered interest from a wider audience as they began playing and writing together. The group cite a range of influences for their unique sound, including “(West)-African music like Oumou Sangaré and Ali Farka Touré; indie bands like Vulfpeck, Palm and KNOWER; noisy high-energy bands such as Hella and Death Grips; and music with interesting lyrics such as Jenny Hval and Nick Drake.” But you’d struggle to pin them down to one or two forebears, given their resistance to anything resembling a prescriptive approach.
Speaking about the origin of their name, which taken from one of the more vigorously outré films by Japanese animation visionaries Studio Ghibli, the band explain, “The Pom Poko film captures a lot of what we’d like our concerts to be: high energy, fast pace, lots of stimulus for eyes and ears – and most importantly, really crazy and fun. The movie is basically the time of your life for two hours, and afterwards you’re in some state of ex-hausted ecstasy. Plus the raccoons in the movie, and raccoons in general, are really ba-dass.”
The band’s own bad-ass-ery is writ large on album opener ‘Theme1’, which locates a sweet spot between Deerhoof and Battles as singer Ragnhild issues loud, clear rebel yells over Martin’s math-rock guitar. Singles ‘My Blood’ and ‘Follow The Lights’ layer seduc-tively sweet melodies over squalls of sound, while the funk-fired ‘My Work Is Full of Art’ offers a kind of mission statement: “I’ll just let freaky surround me,” sings Fangel.
Elsewhere, Pom Poko’s instinctive dynamism teases uplifting thrills from boundary-melt-ing experiments. Glacial shards of guitar bounce off steel-drum flurries on the rapid-fire serotonin fix of ‘Blue’, before the sweetly infatuated ‘Honey’ comes sequenced next to the thrashing tonal lurches of ‘Crazy Energy Night’. The sing-song title-track spikes the ranks of sweetly sad birthday songs with a rebellious sting (“I’m not your bitch!”), while ‘Daytrip-per’ is a commanding come-on from a band who are no more likely to mince their words than limit their range. ‘If U Want Me 2 Stay’ resembles ‘The Tra La La Song’ retooled as a sci-fi cyber-pop anthem of carefree defiance, while ‘Peachy’ closes the album with an exultant melody and one last declaration of transformative independence: “Watch me as I shape shift.”
Pom Poko have unveiled the video for their brand new single ‘Crazy Energy Night’. The track is a stand out moment on the Norwegian quartet’s raucous debut album ‘Birthday’ (released 22nd February via Bella Union) and epitomises Pom Poko’s drive to create music that’s noisy,fun, and more than just a little bizarre.
The accompanying video centres on a collection of papier mâché characters crafted by the Norwegian art collective Narves1Biblioteke. Equal parts comical, odd, and repulsive, the video is just as stimulating for the eyes as the tonal lurches of the song are for the ears. Speaking about the project in more detail, Narves1Biblioteke say:
“We got hung-up on the line“slowly turning madman into saviour”. We wanted to do something about transformationand since a baby in the first place is a perfect thing, we decided to startthere and we made all kinds of babies we could possibly think of! The music isvery fun and we try to have fun, for example the where some tiny worms areplaying Martin’s guitar solo on the baby’s teeth. And then the lettuce headcharacter too.”
Today’s release of ‘Crazy Energy Night’ follows the successful release of two other tracks from the‘Birthday’ album – ‘Follow The Lights’ and ‘My Blood’ – which have both picked up extensive radio play around the world (notably from triple j in Australia and BBC 6 Music in the UK) and have firmly set expectations for this album to fully live up to the balls-out individuality that we’ve come to expect from Pom Poko as their creativity courses through this exhilarating debut. Pom Poko have already announced a handful of album launch shows to take place in the UK and Germany and today they have announced an extensive run of European dates to take place throughout April. Full European listings are here, with tickets for all dates on sale now.