Pom Poko’s name is taken from a 1994 Japanese animated film about shape-shifting raccoons, and their music is about as off-the-wall as this fact would suggest. The intriguing Norwegian quartet, who hail from Trondheim, are one of several new groups to emerge from Scandinavia this year. They are already making a name for themselves with their original, creative sound, as well as the chaotic energy of their live shows, having played Brighton’s Great Escape festival and several Scandinavian festivals over the summer. Their third official single, ‘You’ll Be Fine’, is a slice of sunshiney punk-pop, and a more carefree, summery sound compared to the rockier, more discordant ‘Jazz Baby’ and ‘It’s A Trap’, their two previously released tracks.
The band describe themselves in their Twitter bio as “pop, rock, punk and serious sugar rush”, and their output so far shows them drawing inspiration from a wide range of eras and genres. This latest single leans towards the sugary side, and is immediately attention-grabbing, drawing you in with a steady churning bass line and the mesmerising clang of cow bells. Singer Ranghild Fangel Jamtveit’s vocals are clear and sweet, as she opens with the lines, “It’s OK, you didn’t want my body anyway”, sung with breezy, laid-back acceptance. This is a break-up song, but it’s an optimistic break-up song, of the ‘it was probably for the best’ kind. The candid lyrics range from almost wistful – “You know I have your picture on my wall” – to reassured certainty – “Every time I see you I feel glad that you’re not mine”. In an interview with NME, Jamtveit described the track as “a modern love song to yourself”, singing “You’ll be fine” over and over in a punchy, joyful chorus, which is catchy almost to the point of becoming irritating. Martin Miguel Tonne’s playful guitar riffs echo the spiralling vocals, while Jonas Krovel on bass and Ola Djupvik on drums create a groovy, hypnotic rhythm which drives the track forwards, despite occasional diversions into discordance.
The improvised, fun-loving style of Pom Poko is about as far from the slick, serious synth-pop usually associated with Scandi groups as you can get, although all the band members are classically-trained jazz musicians. It’s clear that they aren’t worried about trying to conform to a certain genre or produce anything overly-polished – Jamtveit has admitted to improvising lyrics on stage – but are more concerned with having fun, experimenting, and making something different. Their wackier side certainly comes through in the bizarre Sims-meets-surrealism music video for ‘You’ll Be Fine’, which you can watch via the link below. Pom Poko are impossible to put in a box, but this works in their favour, as ‘You’ll Be Fine’ manages to combine a lot of different elements which somehow work really well together. The end result is a sunny, shiny, out-of-the-ordinary track which will hopefully leave you feeling more than ‘fine’.
– Nicole Gadras
‘You’ll be Fine’ music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ix0tAwpKibc
FEATURED IMAGE SOURCE: http://stayloose.co.uk/pr/pom-poko/