If anyone just sees photos of Katzenjammer without the music, sexists and cynics may just think they're a stunning girl band with quirky clothes. Well, that is a small part of this brilliantly talented band from Oslo in Norway. They have the delightful vocals and harmonies of The Corrs and the Rock n' Roll performances of The Bangles. So here are four ladies, Marianne Sveen, Anne Marit Bergheim, Solveig Heilo and Turid Jorgensen. Amazing multi-instrumentalists, I think maybe only Prince plays more instruments than these girls and I'm not sure on that! Between the four they play accordion, guitar, piano, mandolin, drums, bass, glockenspiel, balalaika, trumpet, kazoo, melodica and banjo. Oh and they can all sing as well!
My other favourites include "Tea With Cinnamon" which reminds me a little of Lily Allen and the insanely eerie and dark "Hey Ho On The Devil's Back". "Wading In Deeper" is vocally driven and is just a beautiful song with gorgeous harmonies. "Le Pop" and "Der Kapitan" are crazy fast paced tracks with surely an influence of the B-52's!
I first saw the band on Weekend, a Sunday morning show on TV with Aled Jones. They played two tracks "Lady Grey" and "A Bar In Amsterdam" and I was hooked. When the girls performed the second track, they seemed to have switched duties and instruments! I thought this was brilliant, I switch over to Sunday Brunch and a video was shown on that too. It seemed fate was telling me to look this band up and blog to the masses.
Katzenjammer's debut album "Le Pop" was released in 2008 and it reached number 9 in the Norwegian album chart, pretty good for a first release. "A Bar In Amsterdam" is the first track that hits you like a rocket after the initial intro. Half Big Country, half Jazz-Folk, it's an explosion of exciting party fun. The album is a great introduction to the band, a plethora of instruments and styles.
In 2011, "A Kiss Before You Go", the second album was released. Reaching number 6 in the Norwegian chart this time and also reaching number 7 in Germany, the ladies were getting noticed.
"I Will Dance (When I Walk Away)" is near to the influence of The Corrs, a really nice song with a hint of Irish Folk backing. There is so much to admire on the tracks, you just never know what you're going to get with each track. "Cherry Pie" for instance, is like a throwback to old theatre performances during the World Wars, upbeat and cutesy. The unpredictability doesn't stop there, a sassy, chanteuse-style vocal over a David Bowie-esque backdrop gives a striking cover of Genesis' "Land Of Confusion" a new lease of life. My favourite has to be "Rock-Paper-Scissors", simply perfect Pop-Rock. "Gypsy Flee" reminds me of the Ukrainian band Gogol Bordello, an Eastern Folk uptempo tune complete with army-like band chanting. This album blows the genres away.
Following the live album release of "A Kiss Before You Go - Live In Hamburg" in 2012, 2015 sees the third studio album, "Rockland" released. Including the previously mentioned Folk-Pop track "Lady Grey" and opened by "Old De Spain". The latter makes me think of sitting round a campfire and everybody singing this song in the small hours to uplift the spirits. It begs audience participation! This album seems more Pop and Rock than the previous two but still keeps that quirkiness and cheekiness of Folk especially on the tracks "Curvaceous Needs" and "My Dear". "Shine Like Neon Rays" is classic 80's pop, similar to early The Go-Go's material. I love "Oh My God" because it's a demon fusion of Taylor Swift, Alanis Morissette and Avril Lavigne, great track!
Katzenjammer have announced a UK tour in November and will be playing Shepherd Bush Empire. They are for sure the best all-female band since The Bangles, they can rock with the best, entrance you with the sweet melodies and vocal harmonies and uplift you into dancing a little jig!
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