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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 178 - 03/19/11

Lukestar
Taiga
Phone Me / Tuba!

Lukestar's second album, Lake Toba (2008), was quite a thrilling pop piece, steered by its smashing, stellar first single "White Shade". Some three years later, here's their third go, Taiga. This time introduced by single choice, Flying Canoes.

"Taiga (which is Russian, or Mongolian), also known as the boreal forest, a biome characterized by coniferous forests. It's the world's largest terrestrial biome covering: in North America most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States, and in Eurasia most of Sweden, Finland, inland and northern Norway, much of Russia (especially Siberia), northern Kazakhstan, northern Mongolia, and northern Japan." (according to wikipedia). So, Lukestar's presenting chilling, ice cold pop? Or maybe Northern soul? Well, fact is Lukestar is quite soul-warming (they started out under the moniker Lukewarm, mind you...). Another fact is that the Lukestar gang must be quite a busy bunch, since most of them also are in Truls and the Trees (my now 4-year-old daughter was a big fan of their song "Upside Journey", off the Oslo! compilation, all through last year -- singing along and all). Their line up have been through some changes, but the four-piece are: founding members Truls Heggerø (vocals, guitar) and Yngve Hilmo (guitar), Jørgen Larsen (drums) and Marius Ergo (bass, synth) - Hilmo being the only one not being one of the Trees. Truls, who's fronting both bands, has got his signature high pitch vocals. His angelic, ambigender-ish voice make Sigur Rós' Jónsi sound like Lemmy. Or the Bee Gees sound like The Highwaymen. Not bad, but maybe better in smaller portions. This is where Lukestar is a clever band: Where Lake Toba was an 11-songs-in-35-minutes album, Taiga is a 10-songs-in-37-minutes one. Less is more is a good thing.

Musically Lukestar is up the indie-pop alley. They somehow sound like Death Cab for Cutie, or The Shins, played at 45 rpm. No, I don't mean to be rude, but Heggerø's falsetto voice is quite... peculiar. Anyway, Lukestar are good pop-smiths, creating catchy pop tunes. Taiga kicks off with the immediate and quick "Great Bear"; a 2-and-a-half-minute pop song with attitude. "Miracles On An Angry Line" follows, being on of the best songs of the album. Maybe even better than "Flying Canoes". Well, maybe not as catchy. I didn't quite get it at first, but it's a grower. Like many of the tracks on the album. Other highlights are "Saint Toby" and "Palace Road".

Lukestar won themselves a 'Norwegian Grammy' for Lake Toba. I don't see why Taiga shouldn't bring them another one. Because it's as good as its predecessor.

Copyright © 2011 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Lukestar articles/reviews: Great Bear EP, Lake Toba, White Shade.

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