NO-RULES POP FROM OSLO
Name: Philco Fiction (Turid Solberg, Bjarne Gustavsen, and Andreas Knudsrød)
Where They’re From: Oslo, Norway
When They Started: 2010
Genre: Pop through the looking glass
Most Similar: Solange, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Highasakite, Björk
Sounds Like: The Ghost of Michael Jackson slow-dancing with Lykke Li
The King of Pop is dead. Let’s all agree not tell Norwegian pop aficionados, Philco Fiction. They’ve yet to perform while wearing one silver glove (although we wouldn’t put it past charismatic frontwoman Turid Solberg), and there’s no word on if they own a pet monkey. Still, the Oslo-based trio has proved that they are unabashed products of their generation—unafraid to stir liberal amounts of 1990s flavor into their twisted tunes. The result is a collection of utmost pop pleasures. (Guilty? Hardly.) But to stop there would do Philco Fiction a major disservice. The decade—in its pre-Britney, post-”Material Girl” era Madonna glory—is merely a springboard into a far weirder (and some might say far more wonderful) place.
The band’s debut album Take it Personal is a polished gem, where the likes of singing saws and string sections sit neatly next to more traditional instrumentation. Combine that with heavy helpings of haunted electronics and percussive beats, and Philco Fiction could easily sit on the shelf alongside contemporaries such as Lykke Li and Fever Ray. Although given their unpredictable bent, exact categorization is a tricky proposition. Case in point: opening track “Time is a Fly.” The melodic atmospheric opening transforms when a chanted, earworm-riddle chorus sends the song skittering into festival highlight territory. Who saw that one coming? (Answer: none of us.)
It’s not all ethereal quirk. (Even if Solberg’s sugary soprano often curls into series of unexpected, hairpin turns) The band skillfully weaves together tales of heartbreak, loss and loneliness, dotting them with maudlin humor. (Listen closely—it’s not a “bad boy” who tests Solberg on anthem to misguided love “Help!,” it’s a “bird boy.”) This is one band that, while playfully ambitious, still manages to pack an emotional heft.
Philco Fiction is currently holed up in their studio, working on material for their next full-length, due out later this year via Brilliance Records. Until, enjoy our exclusive premiere of their new track “Oh Future” below. It’s a slow burner that climaxes with a synth-filled freak-out. Dare you not to dance. You can even Moonwalk if you’d like. —Words by Laura Studarus