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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 110 - 09/18/05

Animal Alpha
Racing Junior/Universal

Animal Alpha have been the rock hype around Norway for the last year. Since before they'd released a thing they filled the minor-major clubs in Oslo while performing live (most record labels drooling - sympathetic Racing Junior got their signature), they played every festival around, and their first EP did well when it hit the streets. Now they've put out their debut album, produced by Sylvia Massy Shivy - a lady known for her works with a lot of U.S. million-sellers, mainly from the louder side of rock.

And Animal Alpha wanna make snarling rock show as well. Fronted by the energetic Agnete Kjølsrud who's got an impressive pair of.......vocal strings. Her voice is spanning from Kate Bush-style cuddly kitten to some hairy witchcraft-rock-monster. She purrs one second and screams the next. Quite amazing, but sometimes a tad too much, spinning over the top - into parody. That said she (and the band) goes for the full theatrical drama on purpose - make-up, top-hat, angel/demon look, and rock with big, hairy balls.

Pheromones holds 10 songs and, well, to begin with - it is too long. Secondly there's too many musical clichés around making the album as a whole not too exciting. "Billy Bob Jackson" is a tough opener, and the band do show some tough moments throughout the rest of the album as well. I like parts of the record even though I'm not quite into the style and groove. The wild, almost manic "I.R.W.Y.T.D." is quite catchy within its punchy anger. My favourite track is the catchy and diverse "Most Wanted Cowboy". "101 Ways" is a bit different with its laidback, shoe-gaze feel (for a while), while "Remember the Day" is a welcome closer - quiet and gentle, almost whispering.

File under...? Well, while listening I recall some of the early 90s bands from the pre-grunge days. Mother Love Bone (but less fluffy), Faith No More (but less catchy), Soundgarden (their first records), but Animal Alpha add a lot more to their expression - from other genres. But dramatic punch-rock is the main thing. And singer Agnete Kjølsrud acts as tough as many a male competitor. Even tougher. Sometimes it's quite fitting, others it gets as mentioned way too much. Probably way more fitting delivered from a stage together with some visual show.

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