CD Le Pop (CD 6544383),
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Le Pop

  • 1. Overture
    2. Bar in Amsterdam, A
    3. Demon Kitty Rag
    4. Tea with Cinnamon
    5. Hey Ho on the Devil's Back
    6. Wading in Deeper
    7. Pop, Le
    8. Kapitn, Der
    9. Virginia Clemm
    10. Play My Darling Play
    11. To the Sea
    12. Mother Superior
    13. Ain't No Thang
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): CD 308872

  • Credits
    ProducerMike Hartung; Kre Christoffer Vestrheim
    EngineerMike Hartung; Kre Christoffer Vestrheim; Spellemann Hansen

    Audio Mixers: Mike Hartung; Kre Christoffer Vestrheim.
    Recording information: Katzenjammer Studio; Propeller Music Division, Oslo, Norway.
    Photographers: Sophie Etchart; Kaja Heilo; Per Olav Heimstad.
    Arrangers: Mike Hartung; Katzenjammer; Kre Christoffer Vestrheim.
    This all-female Norwegian quartet makes wild, pulse-pounding music that's hard to categorize. Imagine some mutant blend of the B-52's, Gogol Bordello, and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France playing supersonic dance beats on acoustic instruments and you have some idea of this band's eclectic sound. Their mash-up of Gypsy madness and Balkan wedding music, rock and pop, American and Norwegian folk, and much more is played brightly, but with an underlying darkness that gives the impression of a carnival band surfing on the snowy crest of an avalanche. The quartet plays about a dozen instruments including accordion, guitar, piano, and drums in addition to balalaika and harpeleik, a 99-stringed folk zither native to Germany and Finland. Despite their impressive chops, the instrumental tracks are tight and focused, without layering up odd sounds just to show off, with lyrics that can be both macabre and playful. Unlike many musicians who are not native speakers of English, the Katzenjammer gals have a fine command of rhyme, meter, and vernacular Americanisms, adding an extra crackle to their tunes. There isn't a weak track on the disc, but several jump out at you from the first listen. "A Bar in Amsterdam" sounds like a bluegrass tune played by a Gypsy brass band, with a dark lyric and the energy of a bar full of desperate drunks at closing time. "Demon Kitty Rag," their hit from 2009, combines ragtime, clattering banjo, hot fiddling, and jubilant Andrews Sisters-like scat vocals. The title tune name-checks the Cramps, and sounds like Kate and Cindy of the B-52's fronting a Russian folk band, while "Mother Superior" is a waltz that suggests ominous 1930s German cabaret and sports one of the album's most sinister lyrics. ~ j. poet

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