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Supergroups are always a two-way street; when distilling the unique talents of a collective of well-respected indie icons in the one melting pot to create a new, niche product, often one can expect greatness from the cocktail. The flip-side can be the opposite, being unfocused jam-derived material that falls far short of the sum of its parts. In this instance, happily, we’re not disappointed – Norwegian pop master Frode Stromstad teams up with some of the experimental pop icons we know and love well, notably members of Harry’s Gym, Serena Maneesh, and none other than Sufjan Stevens. This is the second LP from this tight-nit Norwegian rockers, following 2007’s Losing Something Good For Something Better, and the sound palette here is awash with shoe-gazy guitars and spooked-out pop vox, landing somewhere in the middle of My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr. The melodies are striking, so often amiss in this type of music, particularly the nicotine-soaked love-rock of Step Aside and the joyous Breathe. The group’s explosive sound will resonate with some listeners as heavily 1960’s influenced – and true, there is a distinct flavour of Motown in Stromstad’s melodies – stomping and exuberant, and trailed with girl-group harmonies. But there is something very new in the melding of that kind of chart-topping hit-writing, and the sweat-stained sneaker rebellion of the early 1990’s.  All comparisons aside, somehow it all melts into the one product that is I Was A King, and it is a glorious thing.

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