I’ve always had a quiet regard for Scandi-pop. Maybe it’s the to do with the enunciation, something which can give a sense of cool detachment from the lyrics. Whatever the case, Band of Gold’s second album, Where’s the Magic, comes across as well executed smart art pop.
Band of Gold consist of Nina Mortvedt and Nikolai Hængsle, apparently a pair of veterans of the Norwegian music scene, who created something of a stir when their eponymous first album of folky pop rock gained a load of plaudits from the Scandinavian music press. Where’s the Magic sees the duo adopt much more of a synth pop approach, to the point where you can hear echoes of Tango in the Night era Fleetwood Mac in places, and it really works. At a time when the whole notion of pop music seem so fragmented and disorientating, it’s lovely to hear a pop album that is just a collection of songs delivered without the need for the flash bang whizziness of a multi media marketing campaign.
Band of Gold seem happy with the fact that they’ve recorded a quality album and that it will find its audience in time. There’s no big gestures that risk over-promising and under-delivering, just great pop songs like “Into the Void” and “I Could Spot You in a Hundred Miles” that deserve to reach a bigger audience than the majority of songs that will hit the top 20 singles chart this year. Oh, and the title track deserves to be a chart topper.
Despite Band of Gold’s style of pop being outside of my usual preferred musical styles, I can’t help but like Where’s the Magic. It’s a shamelessly honest pop album without any of the over the top attention-grabbing bullshit, and there’s something really refreshing and charming about that.