The debut full-length from Norwegian outfit Highasakite is a real mixed bag of genres that are anything but simple to categorize, with adventurous soundscapes laden with intricate pop melodies dominated by the wonderful voice of Ingrid Håvik. The songs build behind her bold and intriguing vocals; they weave between the textured instrumentation provided by the other four members, who bring percussion, synths, and guitars to the mix. There are a few tell-tale signs of Håvik and drummer Trond Bersu's roots (forged at Trondheim Jazz Conservatory) as the bouncing rhythms and layered vocals take center stage on "Leaving No Traces," while Scandinavian influences are undeniable throughout. Although sounding quite different from their contemporaries, there is something uniquely Nordic in the vocal delivery, with the likes of Lykke Li, Fever Ray, and Susanne Sundfør sharing the inflection and warmth that is audible in Håvik's voice. Among the textured melodies and array of instrumentation there is a collection of stories that are incredibly emotive, yet retain a sense of wonder instilled by Håvik, who then invigorates the enveloping choruses that dominate the songs. The personable charm of the album flows through the tracks, from the catchy, steel drum-incorporated single "Since Last Wednesday" to the dramatic tension that takes hold on "Iran." The groups' real skill is in tying together the host of influences that are on show here, and for the most part, they're successful in mixing their indie pop sensibilities with diverse electronic textures that transform album-opener "Lover, Where Do You Live" into a yearning, soaring composition. The EP that preceded this album set the marker high for the Norwegian quintet, but they more than deliver here with a brave and diverse collection of songs.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Kerr