Kvelertak, Meir (Roadrunner)

5 May

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Hairy, inky-torsoed sextet Kvelertak sing in their native Norwegian, although the occasional song title – Trepan, Sultans of Satan – is enough to give non-Norwegian-speakers an idea of their lyrical concerns. Musically, though, second album Meir (More) speaks the universal language of adrenaline-fuelled delight, counterbalancing the irresistible punky charge of lead single Bruane Brenn with a snaky six-string sweetness that’s reminiscent of Thin Lizzy’s crystalline twin-guitar attack – except that Kvelertak have THREE guitarists, which in Spinal Tap terms is the equivalent of turning it up to 11, maybe even 12. There’s also a sly pop sensibility at work here, as well as an engaging feel for texture. Tempos and arrangements are surprisingly varied, and in places recall the Pixies at their blood-curdling best – singer Erlend Hjelvik’s Viking yowl echoes Black Francis’s primal scream, and Nekrokosmos (which was also featured, in a different version, on their first album) could even be an outtake from Trompe Le Monde. The result is a dark geyser of Scandi-metal joy.

Great live act too. Not only can they play their instruments, they make a compelling spectacle. Hjelvik is apt to wear an owl (the band’s mascot) on his head and does a spitting trick that involves him gobbing straight up into the air and then trying either to catch the falling missile in his mouth or to bat it into the audience with his hand. I’ve been trying it at home and it’s great fun. I’m going to need to wipe the furniture down with a cloth before the others get back, mind.

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