Norwegian alt-rockers SAUROPOD combine elements of a variety of punk sub-genres on their debut album. Channeling Pixies and Sonic Youth, the album is an attempt to update and modernize grunge and post-punk music, employing smooth production, vocal editing and processed instrumental breaks in place of the typical walls of feedback synonymous with the albums of the time. The LP also has unconventional influences from a wide variety of indie rock acts, which lend a new edge to the band’s sound.
The opening track You and Me Should Leave Together Tonight lays its roots in early 2000’s indie rock. The simple swelling intro, jumpy beat and catchy hook are reminiscent of bands such as The Libertines and Razorlight’s feel good guitar-pop. This track is also one of the few on the album where the vocalist employs an entirely clean style throughout, rather than the faux-Cobain scream that heavily dots the album. The following tune, Winter Song, signals the album shifting up a gear, and beginning to fully outline its indie-punk stylings. The verses are muted, the chorus is loud and the breakdown is sudden and violent. The simple bass line and heavy tone is reminiscent of Kim Deal’s work with Pixies and the straight-out-of-a-90’s-high-school-drama-intro sampling gives the track a cool and self-aware flourish.
The penultimate track on the album, Your Line Is Divine, is a short and atmospheric instrumental offering, however in sticking with the themes of the album it sounds like the soundtrack to an angst-ridden teen comedy. The ethereal xylophone melody mixes perfectly with the larger orchestral section and the scarce percussion and synth elements are layered into the track perfectly, creating a large soundscape. The addition of the Theremins long and lilting lead strain the track fades out as quickly as it began, providing the perfect break in tempo before the final song, On The Hill.
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Hausmania, (I’ve Been) Bad on Emma and Fugue are the three tracks I’d pick out from this album that show how the bands melting pot of influences are used in their own style and ethos. All three songs are catchy, staggered and heavy. Hausmania sounds like a Babyshambles demo with a pop punk kick, joining the vocalist’s whining style with upbeat, simple rock licks and repeated lyrics fully conveying the bands DIY ethic. (I’ve Been) Bad on Emma’s jarring bass line into soon gives way to a frantic and messy verse and chorus, while Fugue shows off the bands heavier side with some minor screamed vocals and chugging guitars.
Despite all this, the album has some minor issues for me. Some of the songs sound very similar to each other, the production is basic and at times unimaginative and the raw style the vocalist employs often doesn’t fit the instrumentation. With that in mind, this is only SAUROPODS debut and it is rare to see a first offering from a band so sure of their own sound, the ability to combine so noticeably aspects of a variety of genres into music that is distinguishable from the huge number of alt-rock bands currently on the scene holds promise for SAUROPOD.