Who would have thought that a Norwegian punk rock band singing in their own language -in a dialect that even few Norwegians can follow amidst the incessant noise- should become one of the spunkiest new names in Denmark? And not just in hardcore circles, no beyond into the mainstream!
Few. Or is our surprise just proof of sluggish perception? True, the formidable Kaizers Orchestra, parent band to Skambankt, have already blazed a trail for Norwegian phonetics right down along Europe’s continental spine, but does that really explain why Skambankt have had such seemingly out-of-proportionate success?
Kaisers present something more than music; it is a spyglass to a different world, an invocation of old and alien Europe, and thus caters to imagination and marvel at a bygone geist. Skambankt is more straightforward: hard hitting punk rock, tight as a Doberman’s leash, and staccato like a pile driver to your heart, but so what? Why should this all of sudden sell like pop in Denmark?
One thing is of course that fidelity passes from one band to its spin-off; from Kaisers to Skambankt. But another more important trait is probably that some of the genius of the Kaiser vision is re-invented by Skambankt: Whereas most music in the genre they have chosen is draped in all-familiar, hardcore-anarchic aesthetics: tattoos, piercings or just good old denim and leather, Skambankt have opted for a subtler package, a distinct emblazonment, presenting themselves as the musical arm of some kind of political movement. The anger party perhaps, for these are not lullabies.
Another explanation is that their music is undeniably very infectious. Interwoven into the precision clamour there is something else: melodic threads that are almost glam-catchy and that interchange with the barking, rapid-fire vocals to great effect. Sometimes Skambankt sound almost like Turbonegro, with tinsel solos and layered choruses, but so much harder and faster!
Whatever the explanation is, the enduring impression is that even the lads themselves are somewhat bemused at the response, surprised that such a narrow project should catch on so fully.
Now expectations loom large: Skambankt’s second album “Eliksir” will be released on the 29th of this month. Cacophonic blogging, Danish dames rehearsing their screaming, and ever extended tour plans set the mood: music’s Fight Club is back! sd
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