In 2003, rest of my life
took Norway by storm with their debut album. Well, not all of Norway... but indie fans alike were shocked by the desperate, yet melodic approach taken by what is today one of Norway's leading emo bands.
Ahh... yes... the "e" word. Indeed a risky choice of words. Loved by some, hated by more. Often misunderstood, and definitely controversial. There's not many genres that are talked about as much as emo nowadays. But I do not intend to write about emo, nor define emo. I intend to write a review of rest of my life's new gem. It doesn't matter what you call the music. Call it emo, indie, rock, pop, shoegaze, powerpop - call it whatever you like. all pretty people live in airports
is simply good
rest of my life is one of the more well known bands on one of the leading European emo labels, How Is Annie
Records - a label famous for its special sound. And all pretty people live in airports
is the rest of my life's second album. Prior to this, they have released the beforehand-mentioned debut album - self-titled, and an EP - transition
(and a very hard to find demo which I'll refrain from mentioning from this point on). Both of which were hailed as masterpieces by the Norwegian press, but rest of my life didn't gain much press coverage outside of Norway (though they obviously deserved it).
Most reviewers of the first album blamed this on their melodies' complexity requiring multiple listens to grasp, hence not making it fit for radio or music television, E.G. MTV. "Rock with both heart and brain" is a well known definition of rest of my life, penned by Vegard Enlid.
But with all pretty people live in airports
, the journalists can't blame it on the complexity. Not that it isn't complex, but it's more immediately catchy this time around. What was suggested on the transition
made by the band in 2005, replacing their drummer with a new one (who also plays the cello and contributes with backing vocals) and adding another guitarist, really takes off on all pretty people live in airports
But even though this is perhaps one of the catchiest albums to be released for quite some time, the brains are still there; it isn't all about the hearts...
The desperation found on the self-titled album is expressed in new ways. It's not as obvious and frustrated. It's more maturely dealt with.
Music journalists are quick to compare Anders Kojen
with Steve Hoggarth
of semi-legendary alternative rock band Marillion
, and even Jon Anderson
. And it isn't without reason Anders gets compared to these well known vocalists. His use of head voice, chest voice, vocal harmonies and clever dramatic climaxing is quite reminiscent of Jon Anderson's style. What makes it even more interesting, is his natural voice. It's tender and fragile, but yet it never gets whiny or annoying.
Where he on the first album screamed (almost) whenever he needed to express despair, on all pretty people live in airports
(and some of transition
) he makes much better use of his ability to create dramatic climaxes. He does not only hit all the tones like he invented them himself, he also manages to grasp the listeners attention by delivering a passionate and tense performance.
But not only Anders Kojen has the honour of being compared to the greats. The whole band has gotten quite a lot of praise for the progressive rocking done on the previous album and EP, leading to the online music page Rockeweb comparing some of the bits on the EP to Jon Anderson's band, Yes
. And this is mostly thanks to the guitars' intense battle for attention, combined with their at times somewhat unorthodox chord progressions.
But despite being highly qualified musicians, the band never
caves in to the temptation of showing off just for the sake of it. Reidar Wisløff
, Øystein Halgunset
and Anders Kojen vary between intense, melodic strumming and ever-progressing, breath-taking harmonies. A fine example would be "he wore a hat to hide his red hair"; a song that starts out intense, sounding like Echo & the Bunnymen
's "Simple Stuff", but ends up with a laid-back and calm nerve resembling that of Janove Ottesen
's "Francis's Lonely Nights".
Erik Lånke Solbu
is the band's bassist, and really does an outstanding job. To not drown in the pool of skilled guitarists, the Wisløff/Halgunset/Kojen trio, is very much admiring. Instead he always finds a way to make a difference to the song, so that the listener feel like he's actually vital to the sound. His melodic bass lines is the melody's spine.
Combined - it would all remind me very much of Mineral
, The Get Up Kids
and The Appleseed Cast
, if it wasn't for the fact that to make it even more atmospheric, Elling Finnanger Snøfugl
accommodates them with the cello, thus creating a truly unique sound picture. And Elling is not a bad drummer either. Not bad at all. He actually stands out as one of Norway's best drummers, along with Morten "Morfar" Samdal
(manager of How Is Annie Records, as well as multi-musician in many bands) and Øyvind Moland
(most known as a studio musician on A Bunny's Caravan
's only album). Mr. Snøfugl possesses a fine sense for detail, and an impressing nerve that elicits the wish to put every song on repeat.
All the lyrics, save for "I hate kids he said and got five", are written by Morfar. Morfar has written the majority of rest of my life lyrics in the past as well... but it may strike some as a bit odd that he continues to write lyrics for the band, even though he isn't their drummer anymore.
Pretty much all of the lyrics are pretty confusing and, in all honesty... weird. rest of my life continues to be a crow above the emo-murder when it comes to weird lyrics (and song/album titles as well). But under all the strangeness, there's very emotional themes being brought up. The themes are "bouncing back and forth between fear and hope, pessimism and optimism
Morfar and the five musicians of rest of my life fill this album with nothing but highlights. I can't seem to find anything mediocre, let alone bad
about all pretty people live in airports
. It's surprisingly consistent and enjoyable. And by "surprising", I mean surprising compared to all the other sh
it that is dominating Norwegian (and international) radio and TV; not that I'm surprised by the fact that rest of my life has, once again, delivered. If there is such a thing as "justice", all pretty people live in airports
should put rest of my life where they deserve to be - on the top of the world.
In the words of Tore Vikan: "rest of my life? If they continue to make music like this - yes please".
they shut down the dental services
I thought it was you (but it was just another survey call)
I hate kids he said and got five
all pretty people live in airports
We strive between settled organized family values and self realization. We strive between love and egoism. We strive between meaningful kisses and shallow hugs. And we seem to forget that we don't lose our freedom either way, because we are always alone.
all pretty people live in airports prologue.