MUSIC BY ADVENTURERS FOR ADVENTURERS
Name: Kenneth Ishak, Tore Løchstøer Hauge, Magne Mostue and Mattis With as Heyerdahl
Where They’re From: Oslo, Norway
When They Started: 2012
Genre: Emotionally spiky electro/pop rock
Most Similar: Menomena, Nightlands, Man Without Country,
Sounds Like: Mew with dirt under their fingernails.
For those whose history classes skimped on Scandinavia, a bit of backstory. Thor Heyerdahl was a 20th century Norwegian adventurer, who (among other over-the-top exploits) once sailed across an ocean on a raft made of balsa wood. Heyerdhal—the band—is out to do their namesake proud, starting with their full-length debut.
When the quartet left their Oslo home base in order to seek inspiration, it found them. Opting to record their debut Øen in a lighthouse on the West Coast of Norway, the band was joined by a winter storm. As the hurricane-like conditions drove the waves against the windows of their makeshift studio, it colored not only their audio (listen carefully, occasionally you can hear a particularly blustery bout of wind), but also the emotional tone of the material. The result is a haunting electro rock affair, filled with tales of ghosts, nautical misadventures and broken hearts, which covers almost as much ground as the group’s namesake.
Across eight tracks Heyerdhal seemingly embodies the shifting nature of the storm, evoking the elements not only with live percussion, spoken word segments and keys, but what might be some of the most ennui-ridden lyrics that 2013 has to offer. “Hyena” compares love to wild dogs, offering the ominous warning, “Don’t look back, I’m going to attack,” against a bed of icy synths. Friendship is alternately praised (see: jazz-shuffle “Blood” that evokes the idea of blood brothers) and decried (see: The damning line in “Beast”: “My friends are bastards for not walking me home.”) The often-disparate ideas are united by a driving sense of discontentment, as the group struggles forward towards the next musical horizon—whatever that may be. If we are to take anything from this first introduction, it’s that Heyerdhal isn’t a band willing to settle for easy answers.
“Mirage,” Heyerdahl’s first video, reflects Øen’s dramatic gestation. An epic affair, it tells the story of a father and daughter team who embark on a journey to fulfill a dying woman’s final request. Join in on the quest below. – Laura Studarus
Øen streets January 28th via Red Eye Transit.