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Pom Poko

at The Hug and Pint

* * * * *

Norwegian math rock/wonky pop hybrid is brilliant shocker!

Image of Pom Poko

Norwegian band Pom Poko are a gloriously bonkers hybrid of staccato guitar shredding, bubblegum melody line and sophisticated math rock clatter. Their sound isn’t just of the moment, it’s so forward-thinking that people will still be catching up in ten years’ time.

Comparisons with Deerhoof and Battles are all well and good – especially given the abrasive buzzsaw guitar of Martin Miguel Almagro Tonne – but there’s a soupcon of debt to Sonic Youth too in Ola Djupvik’s fiery rhythm sections, and Little Dragon within the soft caramel centre.

Tonight, the quartet are on ferocious form. Frontwoman Ragnhild Fangeld Jamtveit is a smiling Tiggerish presence throughout the night, bouncing on the spot, and blessed with a gorgeous vocal range.

She can go from heavenly and ethereal to utterly possessed within a chord shift. And she provides some hot cowbell action during the metallic nursery rhyme Follow The Lights.

The songs simmer, build and become gloriously cacophonous, and it’s quite something that the band casually toss the genius racket My Blood as second song in the set. There are few things finer in indie at the moment than when Jamtveit coos, ‘My… body is a flower’, and the guitar goes totally apeshit.

They are an assured band, and rightly so. Birthday, the title track of their debut album, is as unhinged as it’s sweet, and Crazy Energy Night is the grit in the pearl, with its incantation,”Slowly… turning… madman into saviour”.

Finally, our Scandinavian cousins have something worth celebrating that doesn’t involve dramas featuring troubled types in bad jumpers solving horrific crimes against teenagers. Pom Poko are incredibly special. Takk skal du ha!