REVIEW: HONNINGBARNA – VERDEN ER ENKEL

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Reviewed by Bec Hennessy
At first glance at this album I saw 13 tracks and thought ‘Hmmm these guys are straying into Bad Religion territory’. Though their work is performed entirely in their own tongue, these Norwegian kids (all in their teens) are conveying a message I’m definitely receiving despite the language barrier. Joyous punk rock abandon with a socially aware flavour. Social awareness and epic track listing is probably all they share with Bad Religion though. This release surprisingly drenched in dirty rock riffage, rather than your straight up punk.

The buzzing intro riff of the first track, has a slight droning jangle that could be at home on a Dead Kennedy’s track but with enough gravel to go grunge if it wanted to. For me you can’t go wrong there, I love it.  It all builds with an air raid like intensity until an unmistakably Scandinavian voice silences the guitars. The drums remain, holding the vocalist on a straining leash as he spits lyrics with a style part hardcore part gutter punk. The drums nor the vocals can be restrained for long and that riff returns to set them free, my love affair with it continuing. A quivering helter skelter of a guitar solo competes for my affections and rounds it out nicely.

Ikke La Deg Rive Med ‘ brings straight up down and dirty rock guitars over a staccato drumbeat.  Before the pace heats up to punk.  It’s all over before you know it, hard to get carried away in under 2 minutes I guess, but it definitely hovers on the precipice.

Velkommen Tilbake’ beckons with more of that jangling guitar sound and a sliding DK-esque riff. Punchy punk vocals trade shouts. It’s at this point I realise that although I’m usually all about the lyrics when it comes to music, it doesn’t bother me that I can’t understand what they are saying. I could wank on with something about the music speaking to me/punk traversing the language barrier and, don’t get me wrong, I don’t consider that to be a totally baseless idea. But I think more than anything, I feel a pure joy in what they do coming from these guys that resonates through their performance.

It’s quite the performance. Full of energy. And they pack a lot in here. ‘Tynn Is’ introduces cello in subtle understated way, that I want to hear more of. ‘Fritt ord Fritt fram’ is frenetic, the kind of track you can see yourself doing that characteristic ‘flailing around in a washing machine’ type dancing in a crowded pit, bouncing off your brethren and getting sprayed with spit from the lead singers screams.

The tongue in cheek ‘God Jul Jesus’ (Merry Christmas Jesus) looms, ominous and sludgy. Do I hear sleigh bells? Ha! Clean, vaguely sarcastic vocals ala Joey Ramone kick in before the chorus shouts the title refrain. Then there’s this big noodly rock guitar solo which is kind of odd, and I feel, possibly unnecessary. ‘Ned’ takes the vocals up a notch with delightfully hoarse ‘on the edge of losing my voice’ screams.

The frantic vocals of  ‘Verden Er Enkel’ (The World is Simple) keep pace with a tumble of frenetic drums and rock riffs, soothed at the finish by soft cello. This would have made a good end point in my opinion, but who I am to begrudge them one more song.

Really, who am I to begrudge them 13 tracks? They encompass so much and have so much enthusiasm that it doesn’t get old, you can’t help but wish you were seeing them live. So young and so full of promise.

3.5/5

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