Ida Maria

Katla

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Recorded in Los Angeles during the Icelandic ash cloud crisis (hence the volcanic-inspired title), Norwegian riot grrrl revivalist Ida Maria's second album, Katla, picks up where 2008's Fortress Round My Heart left off, on a rather slim but predominantly rip-roaring eight tracks which continue to suggest she's not one to be messed with. Not that you'd know it from opener, "Quite Nice People," a gentle, child-like slice of breezy folk-pop whose plinky piano chords and cutesy vocals briefly indicate that the rebellious garage rocker has turned into Regina Spektor. But in keeping with her femme fatale persona, it's purely a red herring designed to lull the listener into a false sense of security, as other than the Sheryl Crow-esque, melancholic bluesy strum of closer "My Shoes," the album is a tour de force in brash, confessional, and drunken trash-rock. While the White Stripes-inspired riffs, pounding beats, and Joan Jett-style gang mentality chorus of "Bad Karma," the bilingual glam rock of "10,000 Lovers," and the screechy new wave punk of "Let's Leave" all bear the hallmarks of producer Butch Walker's other female collaborations (the Donnas, Avril Lavigne), Maria has enough tricks up her sleeve to ensure she stands out from the crowd. The ten-minute post-apocalyptic proggy grunge of "Devil" may be a sludgy, interminably dull misfire, but "I Eat Boys Like You for Breakfast," which shows that the singer responsible for "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" hasn't lost her knack of producing attention-grabbing titles, is a curiously uplifting, mariachi-fused number which sounds like it's escaped from a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack, while the tongue in cheek "Cherry Red" is an authentic Motown pastiche which sees Maria joyfully singing "I'm gonna make you apple pie" over some infectious doo wop harmonies and toe-tapping rhythms. Maria obviously isn't short of ideas, which makes the brief running time both disappointing and puzzling, but anyone looking for a quick burst of explosive, if slightly oddball, punk-pop need look no further.

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