Norway - Full Moon 59 - 08/04/01
Mind Your Head
Odd music? Nope. Odd is the new pop-star around Norway, and presents catchy, guitar-driven
widescreen pop-rock with some heavy touches of bittersweet love-hurt melancholy. As the opening
words of first song, Never Without, goes: "Sing
your song of the broken-hearted, of those who cry themselves to sleep." Weeping pop. You'd
better mind your head, because the songs on Mind Your Head sneak in your ears to get stuck
in your head.
Odd is a 28 year old from Årdal (a small industrial town on the western coast of Norway),
who's been preparing his album debut the last five years. He's one of EMI's jewels, and the two
singles released last autumn and winter, Heroine and Free Me, gained a lot of radio
air-play. A third single, the immediate opening track Never Without, was released earlier
this summer, and the expectations for this album must be massive. Recorded and produced (by Ronald
Bood) in Sweden, it seems like Odd (and EMI) hopes to surf the golden Swedish wave of launching
and breaking artists with success internationally. The record company mentions Swedish pop-stars
Kent and Andreas Johnson, as well as Manic Street Preachers, Jeff Buckley. Other, more fitting,
names to drop, are chronic melancholics such as Coldplay, Muse, Travis and Neil Finn. The latter
not only because of the cover of his song Last Day Of June (off the Finn brother's 1995
album Finn). I suppose fans of Crowded House (or anything Finn has done) will embrace Odd.
Opening song Never Without unveils an instant, direct hit song, and it shows an artist
with guts; cocksure with the right charisma to become star. Next song, Self Control, shows
total control (despite the lyrics dealing with "lack of self control"). Wall-to-wall pop-sound,
elegantly arranged and produced. Heroine, the first single, is ace. So immediate, with a
chorus dragging you by the hair, and with guitars banging the ceiling. A song that could've come
out of Kurt Cobain's secret pop-drawer. With No One Is Leaving it slows down. Yep, ballad,
but working. Assited by the fine voice of Dilba. Stay is one of the more rockier part of
the album, and again Odd shows his song-writing abilities, presenting irresistable melody lines
and a sugar-spun chorus. Free Me has got a refreshing drive, but is of the more straightforward
songs, I think. With a chorus somehow reminiscent to Brit-band Kula Shaker (lost somewhere in India?).
Finally Mind Your Head close the album. A calmed down moment - more naked in style - and
a fine song it is. A good ending. Despite the drum machine...
11 songs. A few fillers, yes, but more than enough powerful stuff. Convincing. Odd can be
starry-eyed without blushing. Oldtimers a-ha and Morten Abel move over; a new pop crown
prince is ready for the crown and throne.
Mind Your Head will be released August 20th.
Copyright © 2001 Håvard Oppøyen