Atmospheric and raw, ‘Norwegian Pop’ is a mash-up of all things post-punk and new wave with splashes of new romantics. With multiple tracks of power, synth and style overflowing with social commentary, the album is a boiling pot of alternative 80’s sounds elevated for a modern audience.
The album opens with ‘I Stand On An Ice Floe’, which introduces the listeners to the tone and flow of ‘Norwegian Pop’ perfectly. It’s intense and dramatic, void of vocals but not of substance, managing to feel immense effortlessly. It exposes various influences that will appear throughout and how they will blend together to create the larger than life tracks further down the line, making it an appropriate start point for the experience.
‘Rainbow Fall’ introduces elements of dream-pop along with the first vocals that appear on the album. It’s strong, backed by a steady beat that reflects the stoic, almost spoken-word voice delivering a message of hope, complimented well by the dream-pop inclusion. A common theme in ‘Norwegian Pop’ is heavy, relatable topics wrapped in an ethereal, alternative presentation that make the subjects spark with life and ‘Rainbow Fall’ is a solid example of that.
A real highlight of the collection is ‘Tainted’, which takes the musical concepts explored previously and amplifies them further; with slightly distorted vocals and roaring backing, it is anthemic and has a finality to it. As one of the four tracks released as singles, it allows LearningToDive to introduce his identity and musical stylings loud and clear to listeners. It’s no wonder it features as a lead track alongside ‘High & Dry’ (another single that has been released) and ‘Promenade’.
Both ‘High & Dry’ and ‘Promenade’ are statement songs with rich vocal features and smooth, laidback instrumentals. Whilst ‘Promenade’ takes on the dream-pop sound, ‘High & Dry’ has a much darker, serious tone, demonstrating the range and ability present in the album. With additions such as ‘I’ll Smile’, ‘Falling Leaves’ and ‘Little Requim’ further exploring the nuances of the genres used as influences, the album as a whole is clean. Knowledgeable of itself and its roots, ‘Norwegian Pop’ portrays a certain kind of nostalgic charm that will captivate any listener whilst revitalising the alternative 80’s type sound.
Overall, LearningToDive has forged an eclectic tone and intelligent lyricism that is instantly recognisable. With the album dropping on April 2nd, listeners should prepare themselves for an introspective journey through a post-punk, new wave, dream pop masterpiece.
Keep up with LearningToDive here:
Words by Ellen Oakley
Listen to the latest episode of The Quite Great Radio Show:
Follow Quite Great’s new partnered platform Cambridge Unwrapped: