Pom Poko debut “My Candidacy”

Having recently announced their return with sophomore album Cheater, due for release 6th November via Bella Union, Pom Poko today share raucous new single “My Candidacy”. According to the band… “the song itself is kind of about the wish to be able to believe in unconditional love, even though you know that there probably is no such thing. We, at least, believe in unconditional love for riffy tunes with sing-song choruses.”

 “If you have a vacancy for Favourite New Band, Pom Poko would like to apply for the role,” tweeted Tim Burgess in April, as Norway’s finest punk-pop anti-conformists revisited their joyous debut album, Birthday, for one of Tim’s mood-lifting Twitter listening parties. Pom Poko pimp their CV on all fronts with their glorious second album. Between the quartet’s sweet melodies, galvanic punky ructions and wild-at-art-rock eruptions, Cheater is the sound of a band celebrating the binding extremes that make them so uniquely qualified to thrill: and, like Tim’s listening party, to fulfil any need you might have for a pick-you-up. 

As singer Ragnhild Fangel explains of the leap from Birthday to Cheater, “I think it’s very accurate to say that we wanted to embrace our extremes a bit more. In the production process I think we aimed more for some sort of contrast between the meticulously written and arranged songs and a more chaotic execution and recording, but also let ourselves explore the less frantic parts of the Pom Poko universe. I think both in the more extreme and painful way, and in the sweet and lovely way, this album is kind of amplified.” 

Both sonically and thematically, that sense of amplification asserts itself right off the bat with the tearaway title-track. Bursting into life on the back of a blast of fractious guitar noise, a thrashing riff and a sweetly sardonic vocal, “Cheater” laces its serotonin rush with tangy lyrics about dreams and, says Ragnhild, the kind of “cheating kid who doesn’t understand why they didn’t get things exactly like they wanted on their first try”: thematic motifs that reverberate throughout the album. 

From here, Pom Poko court their extremes with firecracker confidence. Its lilting melody laced with a critique of gender stereotypes and set to a Breeders-style lurch, “Like A Lady” is sharp and catchy. First single “Andrew” upholds a facility for simplicity in one of Pom Poko’s loveliest choruses, though a band such as this will never settle for the obvious: Martin Miguel Tonne’s jazzy guitars seem to do everything except what you expect them to.  

Further evidence arrives in the contrast between the thrilling, think-on-its-feet thrash-pop of “My Candidacy” – made in less than three hours – and the mellifluous “Danger Baby”, a tale of irrational fears with Ragnhild’s vocal and Martin’s guitar merged in unexpected union. That love for surprise synchronicities, slanted sounds and unexpected subject matter propels “Andy Go to School”, where a tempo-tweaked guitar line accompanies a lyric extolling the pleasures of water parks and a free-flowing sonic palette. “Towards the end one of the guitar pedals made a huge BZZZ sound in a pause, but we thought it was cool and raw so we just rolled with it,” says Ragnhild. “We like to mix the feeling of a surgically produced piece of music with the random sounds that also happen when you are a band playing together.” 

After its opening, almost Bolan-esque belches of guitar, “Look” extends that spirit of openness to an invitation to look outside of one’s self, before “Body Level” ends the album on a characteristically generous, unguarded – amplified – note of positivity. “Things get better,” sings Fangel, embracing directness with the same readiness as Pom Poko exult in giddy intricacy. 

The sound of four distinct personalities driving in divergent directions towards one destination, the result is an evolved snapshot of the bracingly contrary chemistry forged when Fangel, Tonne, Jonas Krøvel (bass) and Ola Djupvik (drums) united to play punk during a jazz gig at a literature festival in Trondheim (the band-members studied jazz there.)Taking their name and spirit from Japanese animation visionaries Studio Ghibli’s marvellously out-there film about raccoon-dog rebels with unfeasibly large testicles, Pom Poko showcased that convulsive individuality to exuberant effect on 2019’s Birthday. Along the way, they drew praise from NME, DIY, PopMatters, The Line Of Best Fit, The Independent and BBC Radio 6 Music, while going on to be nominated for two Norwegian Grammy Awards (Spellemannprisen) and The Nordic Music Prize. Meanwhile, a huge touring schedule included countless sold-out headline shows and a rapturously received UK jaunt with Ezra Furman. 

Written in the same run that produced interim releases “Leg Day” (with its playful dance-based video) and “Praise”, and recorded/produced in cooperation with Marcus Forsgren (Jaga Jazzist, Broen, Arc Iris), Cheater does its predecessor proud on every front. Bursting with colour and wonky life from its cover art (by close collaborator Erlend Peder Kvam) outwards, it differs from Birthday primarily in that its songs did not have a chance to be road-tested before going into the studio. But you wouldn’t know it. As Ragnhild explains, “That meant we had to practice the songs in a more serious way, but it also meant the songs had more potential to change when we recorded them since we didn’t have such a clear image of what each song should/could be as the last time.”  

In other words, consider that vacancy for free-thinking punk-pop adventurism in your life filled. Right, Tim? 

Pom Poko announce ‘Cheater’

“If you have a vacancy for Favourite New Band, Pom Poko would like to apply for the role,” tweeted Tim Burgess in April, as Norway’s finest punk-pop anti-conformists revisited their joyous debut album, Birthday, for one of Tim’s mood-lifting Twitter listening parties. Pom Poko pimp their CV on all fronts with their glorious second album, Cheater, due for release 6th November via Bella Union and available to preorder here. Between the quartet’s sweet melodies, galvanic punky ructions and wild-at-art-rock eruptions, Cheater is the sound of a band celebrating the binding extremes that make them so uniquely qualified to thrill: and, like Tim’s listening party, to fulfil any need you might have for a pick-you-up. 

Pom Poko have shared a first single titled “Andrew” from the album, which has just been premiered by NME. 

As singer Ragnhild Fangel explains of the leap from Birthday to Cheater, “I think it’s very accurate to say that we wanted to embrace our extremes a bit more. In the production process I think we aimed more for some sort of contrast between the meticulously written and arranged songs and a more chaotic execution and recording, but also let ourselves explore the less frantic parts of the Pom Poko universe. I think both in the more extreme and painful way, and in the sweet and lovely way, this album is kind of amplified.” 

Both sonically and thematically, that sense of amplification asserts itself right off the bat with the tearaway title-track. Bursting into life on the back of a blast of fractious guitar noise, a thrashing riff and a sweetly sardonic vocal, “Cheater” laces its serotonin rush with tangy lyrics about dreams and, says Ragnhild, the kind of “cheating kid who doesn’t understand why they didn’t get things exactly like they wanted on their first try”: thematic motifs that reverberate throughout the album. 

From here, Pom Poko court their extremes with firecracker confidence. Its lilting melody laced with a critique of gender stereotypes and set to a Breeders-style lurch, “Like A Lady” is sharp and catchy. First single “Andrew” upholds a facility for simplicity in one of Pom Poko’s loveliest choruses, though a band such as this will never settle for the obvious: Martin Miguel Tonne’s jazzy guitars seem to do everything except what you expect them to.  

Further evidence arrives in the contrast between the thrilling, think-on-its-feet thrash-pop of “My Candidacy” – made in less than three hours – and the mellifluous “Danger Baby”, a tale of irrational fears with Ragnhild’s vocal and Martin’s guitar merged in unexpected union. That love for surprise synchronicities, slanted sounds and unexpected subject matter propels “Andy Go to School”, where a tempo-tweaked guitar line accompanies a lyric extolling the pleasures of water parks and a free-flowing sonic palette. “Towards the end one of the guitar pedals made a huge BZZZ sound in a pause, but we thought it was cool and raw so we just rolled with it,” says Ragnhild. “We like to mix the feeling of a surgically produced piece of music with the random sounds that also happen when you are a band playing together.” 

After its opening, almost Bolan-esque belches of guitar, “Look” extends that spirit of openness to an invitation to look outside of one’s self, before “Body Level” ends the album on a characteristically generous, unguarded – amplified – note of positivity. “Things get better,” sings Fangel, embracing directness with the same readiness as Pom Poko exult in giddy intricacy. 

The sound of four distinct personalities driving in divergent directions towards one destination, the result is an evolved snapshot of the bracingly contrary chemistry forged when Fangel, Tonne, Jonas Krøvel (bass) and Ola Djupvik (drums) united to play punk during a jazz gig at a literature festival in Trondheim (the band-members studied jazz there.)Taking their name and spirit from Japanese animation visionaries Studio Ghibli’s marvellously out-there film about raccoon-dog rebels with unfeasibly large testicles, Pom Poko showcased that convulsive individuality to exuberant effect on 2019’s Birthday. Along the way, they drew praise from NME, DIY, PopMatters, The Line Of Best Fit, The Independent and BBC Radio 6 Music, while going on to be nominated for two Norwegian Grammy Awards (Spellemannprisen) and The Nordic Music Prize. Meanwhile, a huge touring schedule included countless sold-out headline shows and a rapturously received UK jaunt with Ezra Furman. 

Written in the same run that produced interim releases “Leg Day” (with its playful dance-based video) and “Praise”, and recorded/produced in cooperation with Marcus Forsgren (Jaga Jazzist, Broen, Arc Iris), Cheater does its predecessor proud on every front. Bursting with colour and wonky life from its cover art (by close collaborator Erlend Peder Kvam) outwards, it differs from Birthday primarily in that its songs did not have a chance to be road-tested before going into the studio. But you wouldn’t know it. As Ragnhild explains, “That meant we had to practice the songs in a more serious way, but it also meant the songs had more potential to change when we recorded them since we didn’t have such a clear image of what each song should/could be as the last time.”  

In other words, consider that vacancy for free-thinking punk-pop adventurism in your life filled. Right, Tim? 

Pom Poko debut new song ‘Praise’

There’s just so much fun to be had with the Norwegian’s art-rock band’s gloriously unhinged debut, an eccentric work that’s no slave to algorithm.” NME

“Pom Poko go for broke on their debut album, throwing everything they have against the wall with” TLOBF

“..a debut full of fired-up, spiky pop hits” DIY

Last year Norwegian quartet Pom Poko released their debut album Birthday on Bella Union to much critical acclaim and continued to gain adoration from their raucous live shows. With their upcoming headline performances in New York and Chicago + performances at New York’s New Colossus Festival and Austin’s SXSW Festival, Pom Poko have today shared a brand new single titled ‘Praise’.

Of the song, the band express that… “the idea for Praise was made in a tiny cabin in the woods, with no electricity and a lot of smoke from the fireplace clouding our the songwriting. The idea was to have a fast paced tune that was a bit wonky rhythmically, and it kept evolving during our touring in 2019 until it became a regular part of our setlist as Praise. Lyrically it’s about how you can “achieve anything you want” as long as you have a clear goal, and that you’re expected to always try to be the best version of yourself.”

Pom Poko’s full list of worldwide tour dates below, including New Colossus Festival in New York and SXSW Festival in Austin… 

11th March – Brooklyn – Elsewhere

12th March – New York – New Colossus Festival

13th March – New York – New Colossus Festival

14th March – Chicago – Empty Bottle

16th March – Austin –  Barracuda (Roskilde Festival SXSW Showcase)

17th March – Austin – House Of Scandinavia (SXSW Showcase)

17th March – Austin – British Embassy (ATC Live Showcase)

18th March – Austin – San Jose Hotel (South by San Jose Showcase)

19th March – Austin – Palm Door (Bella Union SXSW Showcase)

20th March – Austin – Music For Listener Showcase

21st March – Austin – White Denim Showcase

1st May – Fener – Reset Festival

2nd May – Leeds – Live At Leeds

3rd May – Glasgow – Stag & Dagger

14th – 15th August – Nitra – Flaam Festival

8th – 10th January 2020 – Bognor Regis – Rockaway Beach Festival

Pom Poko debut new track ‘Leg Day’

Renowned for their raucous live shows, Norwegian quartet Pom Poko today share the video for  brand new track Leg Day. Having released their debut album Birthday earlier this year through Bella Union this new track heralds news of further UK shows  – including a run of dates as guests of label-mate Ezra Furman  and follows previously sold-out shows at The Shacklewell Arms and The Lexington in London.

Presenting some context, the band explain; “Leg Day is one of our personal live favourites, because it’s so dancey and usually gets our pulse up quite a bit. The song was written over the course of a year, while we figured out how it should be played, before we found its final form as a Frankenstein distorted disco song about superheros and appreciating one’s legs, and recorded it as the sole inhabitants of a small northern Italian village.”

Pom Poko’s sweetly pop-punk melodies and disco-fried art-rock eruptions together with a sense of free-firing spirit, balls-out individuality is highlighted on Birthday and mirrored no less so in an exhilarating live set. A busy summer in attendance at numerous European festivals is followed by a welcome return to these shores including their biggest UK show to date at London’s Scala. The band then return for a run of shows as guests of label-mate Ezra Furman in November – the full live itinerary is:

August

30 Parkfest, Berlin (RadioEins) DE

September

01 End Of The Road Festival, Dorset UK

October

12 Twisterella, Middlesbrough UK

13 Sneaky Pete´s, Edinburgh UK

14 Phase One, Liverpool UK

15 Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds UK

16 BBC6 live session, Manchester UK

17 Deaf Institute, Manchester UK

18 Wild Paths, Norwich UK

19 Simple Things, Bristol UK

21 The Hope & Ruin, Brighton UK

22 The Joiners, Southampton UK

23 Scala, London UK

24 The Hope & Ruin, Brighton UK

25 Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff UK

26 Hare & Hounds, Birmingham UK

November

11 QMU, Glasgow UK **

12 Albert Hall, Manchester UK* *

13 O2 Academy, Bristol UK **

14 O2 Forum Kentish Town, London UK **

24 Vega Small Hall, København DK **

26 Debaser Strand, Stockholm SE **

** supporting Ezra Furman

NME 

There’s just so much fun to be had with the Norwegian’s art-rock band’s gloriously unhinged debut, an eccentric work that’s no slave to algorithm.”

TLOBF  

“Pom Poko go for broke on their debut album, throwing everything they have against the wall with 

DIY

“..a debut full of fired-up, spiky pop hits”

Pom Poko announce headline Scala show

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.

Happy Release Day Pom Poko

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.”