Datarock Datarock


Nettwerk Records, 2007

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


To most outsiders, music from Norway is represented by its black metal scene, Röyksopp, and of course, a-ha. And “quirky” is not a word that one would associate with any of these exports from this stoic Scandinavian country. However, if there is one band from the country that stirs things up and adds some mischief to the image of its popular music, it is Datarock. This is a band that names its eponymously titled debut record twice and wears red jumpsuits; how serious could they be?my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Datarock is not serious. But the group definitely has a sense of humor that is sometimes silly and sometimes surreal. For instance, the opening cut “Bulldozer” is comprised solely of the lyrics “bulldozer, bulldozer…cab driver, cab driver…motorcycle driver,” and has the chorus “BMX is better than sex” sung with heralding gusto. The song “Princess” has the peculiar chorus “You’re a princess, you got the ass of a prince, you got a prince of an ass.” The hilariously catchy “Sex Me Up” finds the band doing a modern-day indie take on the funky styles of James Brown and has lyrics like “I’m into S&M, I’m either butch or femme / And now don’t you understand / I’m into any ma’am.” Not to mention the group’s cheeky tribute to – of all people – Laurie Anderson, complete with lyrics indicating a desire to be Lou Reed, whom Anderson was married to (creepy!)

With its absurdist humor, Datarock channels the stylistic traits of bands like Talking Heads and most importantly Devo. The kitschy red jumpsuit that the band members always wear like a uniform has come to be a distinct part of their image. But don’t let the goofy costume fool you. Because behind the farce – much like Talking Heads and Devo – is an immensely intelligent act. Datarock Datarock is an album that is catchy and energetic from start to finish. Datarock encompasses elements of ‘70s disco, ‘80s synth, punk, minimalist techno, and funk to create a brilliantly eclectic record that’s anything but a joke.

While there are many bands that take themselves too seriously (and aren’t nearly as good as they think they are), Datarock is the opposite: a band that is having just too much fun to even give a damn – let alone gloat over – how simply superb their music is.

Rating: A-

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