Beautiful People

Sedated Times

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Very few bands release really remarkable debut singles, and very few Norwegian bands manage to excite parts of the international music intelligentsia. With Sedated Times, young Oslo-based quartet 120 Days, then known as the Beautiful People, managed both. Their sound is both original and modern enough to fit in with the so-called "new rock" of the early 2000s. Their use of a drum machine and Kraftwerk-esque analogue synthesizers rather than guitars sets them apart from most of the leading international neo-rock bands. But there's a certain desperate-yet-tuneful tone to singer Ådne Meisfjord's distorted voice that made several critics rightfully compare him with a young Iggy Pop and Julian Casablancas of the Strokes. But 120 Days have something more going for them. Not that they are timeless, of course. Nothing is. But their songs have these irresistible pop hooks and vocal melodies that could have made them hits in pretty much every one of the last four or five decades. High-tempo opener "Every Day" is so bold that it opens with a ultra-catchy chorus and just gets better, deservedly making it an indie hit in Norway. "Fucked Myself Up on a Friday Night" is a successful update of the Velvet Underground circa 1968, sounding dirty and messy as hell, backed by industrial-sounding noise. The real standout, though, is the third and last song, "Sedated Times." It's a classic tale of small-town misery with a poetically desperate wanting-to-get-out-before-it-kills-me theme of such great artists as Bruce Springsteen and fellow Scandinavian pop poet Håkan Hellström. The lyrics, whether knowingly or not, even evoke classic Greek tragedy in the couplet "I've seen to much/let me go blind," and manage to do so without ever going over the top. This is powerful stuff from a band that undoubtedly has a great recording future ahead of it

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