Somehow, through cosmic forces and mystical hiccups, it’s entirely possible you’ve been missing out on one of music’s great treasures. Following a musical lineage of power pop greats from the ’60s and ’70s, as well as the unhinged genius of the likes of They Might Be Giants and Squeeze, they have spent the last ten years cultivating a rabid fanbase and critical acclaim from publications worldwide. Over 25 tracks (15 on the vinyl edition), Something Unreal is a monolithic slab of glorious hooks and Michelle Grand’s Debbie Harry-esque vocals trading blows with Roger Houdaille’s rabble-rousing tones – if this is the first time you’ve encountered them, a technicolour world awaits you.
Based in Miami Beach, Florida, Ex Norwegian (named, obviously, after the Monty Python sketch), Ex Norwegian have had an evolving cast of band members, with the odd exploding drummer and bassists lost at sea but throughout it all, prolific songwriter, Roger Houdaille has remained. Something Unreal features fan favourites, Life and Making Deals, by turns swirling psych tempests and grandiose anthemic glam hurricanes.
The band’s output of chiming, melodic pop and rock gems began in 2008 with their album, Standby, at the CMJ Festival in New York, immediately causing a stir and understandably having countless genres thrown at them in the hope that one would stick:
Released in late 2016, Glazer/Hazerr is described as a “love letter to classic rock ‘n’ roll based pop” by UK’s Shindig Magazine. A low-key release, Tekstet (Subtitled) along with a 40-track covers album, Original Copies, quickly followed in 2017 leading up to 2018’s No Sleep. The ninth album, No Sleep, arguably took the band back to the beginning, crafting straightforward pop/rock songs with effective arrangements and quirky lyrics with strong melodies, with the main trio of Roger, Michelle and Giuseppe working collectively on it.
Watch the video for ‘Life’ – BELOW: