“What has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1.9)
There really is nothing new about Permafrost or the sound of ‘Femme Fatale’, but there can be no less joy at that. For here is a band history of cinematic quality, spanning nigh forty years in a testament to single-mindedness which deserves a Nordic Noir in its own right; ‘Control’, but with Will Ferrell as the lead.
The Molde (Norway) outfit have been at this devoted 80s homage since, well, the ‘80s. Formed in 1982, by school friends Frode Heggdal Larsen & Kåre Steinsbu (Robert Heggdal & Trond Tornes joined in 2001 and Daryl Bamonte in 2016) the band now have the ‘Godtment’ EP (on 50 numbered cassettes) in 1983, and the ‘Permafrost’ EP (vinyl only) in 2019 to show for their long service. Ferrell would doubtless require a Hollywood ending where Femme Fatale becomes a worldwide smash. But for all its precision in the recreation (continuation?) of its sound (somewhere between the Sisters of Mercy and Magazine, for whom Permafrost named themselves, just a year after Magazine first split) this is not to be what happens next.
But it is a splendid time machine of a track. Not quite so po-faced that you hate them for it, but without veering into pastiche; these lads have got the whole thing down. It’s fun for three and a half minutes, but don’t expect it to change your world, theirs, Will Ferrell’s or anyone else’s.
Except perhaps for Permafrost, “no one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them”. (Ecclesiastes 1.11)