KATZENJAMMER – Rockland (Propeller Recordings PPR113)

RocklandKatzenjammer is a four piece all girl band from Norway and ‘Rockland’ is their third album. It is a potpourri of differing styles; lacking in theme, but rich in variety. It kicks off with a solo banjo and solo voice. Then tribal wailing vocals join in, shortly followed by the whole band as they get your foot tapping to ‘Old De Spain’.  Swamp music at its best.

Into a rootin’-tootin’ cowboy foot-stomper for ‘Curvaceous Needs’. A really catchy number and one of my favourites on the album. Then a left field change of style. ‘Oh My God’ is a stuttering bass driven pop track with an accordion riff layered over the top. The vocal delivery in a soft rap like style.

The single from the album is ‘Lady Grey’, probably chosen for its commercial pop sound. Pretty enough, but lacking in real substance. In my opinion ‘Bad Girl’ would have been a better choice. ‘Bad Girl’ is my top track for this album. The vocals are husky and the lyrics sassy. The rhythm has great energy and it has a chorus you can hang your hat on.

There is also a great little blues track called ‘Driving After You’. Honky-tonk piano led with some soulful singing and inventive cross backing voices. It’s a slow-burner that grows with each listen.

And so the album swings from one style to another culminating in the title track ‘Rockland’. A track that is, ironically, rock free. This track is the closest to being a folk song, in all truth. If you are a traditional folk lover, then this album will not be for you. If, however, like me, your music is of a broader church, you may well enjoy this gem of an album as much as I did.

Ron D Bowes

Artists’ website: http://www.katzenjammer.com/