Die erste Vorladung (IX)
“The night has a thousand eyes”, Ingrid Helene Håvik intones on ‘Since Last Wednesday’, and that images captures a lot of what Highasakite are about. There is a rippling mystery to their best stuff, a bleak and nameless grandeur that draws you in. Their palette of drums, synths, guitars and orchestral flourishes allows for great variation and sweeping crescendos, either supporting Håvik or completely overpowering her, as the situation dictates. When it comes together, it completely justifies their decision to incorporate the supremely daggy flugelhorn – sorry, flugabone, whatever the hell that is.
Håvik follows in the grand tradition of impressively verbose Scandinavians such as Howlin’ Pelle Almquivst, Nina Persson, and uh, the guy from Bomfunk MCs. Like her forebears, though, she undercuts herself with the occasional howler, which while completely understandable from a non-native speaker, tends to break the carefully-woven spell: ‘I, A Hand Grenade’, for instance, goes where you’d expect it to (weapons, terrorists, etc) and then, lamentably, a bit further still. ‘Darth Vader’, on the other hand, is an extended run of metaphors involving Darth Vader, St George, killer bees, and no logic whatsoever. Ok, so it’s pretty endearing in a Norwegian accent, but still. The song itself shoots for a busy, percussive energy, but the band can’t seem to drag the energy out of themselves to do the song justice.
It’s back in a slower, more stately mode that they hit their straps: luckily, that’s where they stay for most of Silent Treatment.
The notion of awkward turns of phrase is minor though, as tracks like the standout 'Since Last Wednesday' are rapturous highlights. It's as if Pintandwefall were covering Bloc Party's 'I Still Remember' - it's got that rugged Norse accent beaming through urban metro-sprawl, replete with uplifting, twinkling guitars and anthemic hooks. It's desperately traumatic - "He would never buy a weapon and bring it to our home, no/ he would never be foolish and lie about it now/ but no one has seen or heard from him since last Wednesday." Amongst the reluctant despair, the stoic denial, Håvik insinuates a dread, a dire, ghastly alarm. In her standard way, it's cryptic, but there's interpretations of suicide and/or criminal activity to be gleaned. Regardless of the meaning, it's a booming triumph of a track.
We've been waiting a long time for Highasakite's full-length. It would be easy for a record baggaged with so many expectations to falter and flail in it's own try-hardedness, but the band avoid that. There's an occasional human misstep reminding us that these aren't robots churning pristine pop, and that they can concoct foibles, but there's no reason we can't just sweep those issues under the rug. It's easy to overlook any small faults, as the rest of the record is so damn glorious - from the energising barrage of 'I, The Hand Grenade' to the gutsy emotive pill that is 'My Only Crime', Silent Treatment is an onslaught of charm and lose-yourself wilderpop. Pack some sarnies, thermal socks and a flagon of soup, and go for a hike in their illustrious world - just remember to let people know where you've gone... you might be there a while.
Indizien und Beweismittel:
01.09.14 Hamburg, Prinzenbar
02.09.14 Köln, Studio 672
03.09.14 München, Ampere
04.09.14 Dresden, Beatpol
05.09.14 Berlin, First We Take Berlin
07.09.14 Berlin, Berlin Festival
Nun sind die werten Richter gefragt...