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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 161 - 11/02/09

Children And Corpse Playing In The Streets
Honey, I'm Home!
Children And Corpse Records/Diger

I first heard this female duo about one and a half years ago on national radio. They were about to release their debut album. But then nothing seemed to happen, the album didn't appear. Then out of the blue one and a half months ago it was finally here. It turned out the girls had had a row with their record company about the album cover, the deal was cancelled and eventually they recorded the album anew and released it themselves.

We need to say a few words about the band name. Children And Corpse is not quite a ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead kind of band. The name was taken from a mother of a friend who didn't quite master the English language when she tried to explain what was going on in Norway on national day, the 17th of May. During that day there are children parades in every community, most of them with a brass band in front. Brass band is called 'korps' in Norwegian, so, in short, what's going on that day is parades with children and korps playing in the streets.

At first I found the name rather stupid for a band playing nice, innocent and merry guitar or piano based pop music. But, after living with the album for some weeks I think it really fits. To avoid the songs from being hit material, the girls seem to have put a kind of corpse in several of them - a comb, melodica or noisy guitars. And they don't take themselves or their music too seriously. Check out the hidden silly love song about four minutes after the end of the last official song. And, seriously, the girls could be pop stars if they wanted to. Not only the quality of the songs, but also the arrangements are quite exquisite. Listen to the piano playing and piano sound of "My Tiny", the guitar and cello ditto of "Oh ... You Are Too Slow" and "New Bike" and the elfish chanting of "The Greatest Thrill" to name but a few. The girls have been helped out by the cunning engineer, producer and multi-instrumentalist Eystein Hopland (member of Sister Rain and, recently, also Dog Age) who's had a finger or more in loads of underground recordings from Oslo during the last 25 years. A wise choice!

There are lots of catchy and hummable tunes here that one doesn't get tired of. Well, with one exception; the 80s synth-pop pastiche "Let's Dance But Feel Me Up And Die" with some telephone signal sounds that get very annoying after a few spins. The other humorous synth-pop song "Just Like Miami Vice" fares better, but the remaining ones belong in a better class. The sincere longing for "France", the merry melancholic slouching instant pop delight "Oh ... You Are Too Slow", the melancholic "New Bike", the simple young girl chant "When Spring Comes" with nesting birds' song and all... But even better the disturbing "Boil-In-Bag" with strange sounds and the even more disturbing and hushed, not quite unlike Swedish Stina Nordenstam, "Come Home" with a more and more present and agressive electric guitar as the song progresses, to a certain point. And also "The Greatest Thrill" that starts like a distant memory of an old classic French movie where even the melodica doesn't seem out of place, transforms into another dimension with the aforementioned elfish chanting and ends in some strange noises that have been discreetly present all the way.

It's easy to recommend Children And Corpse Playing In The Streets and Winnie the Pooh's favourite remark when he enters his door. The nearest door to the duo of Marit Harnes and Inga-Lill Farstad you'll find here.

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