Syntax TerrOrkester

Jan 29 • By • 638 Views • No Comments on Syntax TerrOrkester ARCHIVES 2010 Tagged with •

6 .5 Land Her O  by  Syntax Terrorkester
Released: 05/10/2010 • Label: YAP Records

My Norwegian sucks. And those dialects, wow. But I’ve played Norwegian scrabble enough to know all the two-three letter Norwegian words that count as points. Putting this newly acquired skill to the test, I’m slowly comprehending this particular band’s lyrical charm, as the opening track, “MÅ ME STÅ” consists of this:

EG STÅR PÅ
EG STÅR AV
EG STÅR MED DEG NÅ
KA SÅ
KOFFOR DET
KOFFORE MÅ ME STÅ
E DU HER
E DU DER
E DU FOR SOM HELST
KA SÅ
DU E DEG
EG KAN SE DEG SÅ
DU STÅR PÅ
DU STÅR AV
DU STÅR MED MEG NÅ……

It’s incredibly aesthetically pleasing as an English-speaker and wordphile, and perhaps even for Norwegians, to gaze at series of two-three letter, blocky short poetic codas, like Japanese haikus, and for them to make sense. The printed lyrics and layout of this album’s inlay is indeed great, complete with photos of Norwegian landscapes and the same workman’s orange uniform seen on their last. (Uniforms, so Bergen…). I suspect their band name has something to do with the textual evisceration of commonly used phrases or words.

But upon listening to this record, I also can’t help but visualising this scenario:

I’m on tour. Someone on tour as an outsider, maybe American, maybe British. We are playing a Norwegian festival. There are five other bands, all Norwegian. The first goes on– they’re young, cute, but crap. The second goes on, they’re just plain crap. The third goes on, they’re pretentious and crap. The fourth goes on and, they’re not bad, musically talented all-around, but nothing radical, nothing I haven’t heard before. But it’s not bad. Now the fifth band goes on, singing in Norwegian, and the music, though not bad, is not only something I’ve heard before, but sounds exactly like the semi-good Norwegian band before it. Syntax Terrorkester is something like, this fifth band.

This is superbly audience-friendly, listening-friendly, middle-of-the-road weirdness. But they could use a lesson or two in American indie rock, early Jade tree, Joan of Arc, Braid, Promise Ring, etc.– or check out the instrumental riffing of bands like American Football. In a more Scandinavian kinship, it reminds me of Bob Hund, especially title track “Land Her O”. But I’m completely aware of the esoteric nature of a dialect-speaking band on a tiny hipster Bergen label—ie, either I haven’t jumped on the wave, or it’s a matter of time before the wave phases out.

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