If Nordic rock came to Manchester, England for a punk festival.
Mixing together a potent potion of post-punk and a splash of 4AD coldwave, Permafrost brings together the Norweigan rock with the UK’s post-punk world beautifully. Their sophomore EP had not been available previously beyond a limited vinyl release and so its digital release last week marks its mass release. It’s one for fans of Joy Division, The Cure and also darker bass-driven gothic musicians like Peter Bjargo.
Whilst the guitars roar and rumble, it’s the thick, heavy basslines that really dominate the mix. ‘Kingdom’ is bass and tom drum slap heavy for example. The heavy low end made my speakers grizzled and rumble as lighter guitar whines and female guest vocals lighten the mix. Lead vocalist of Permafrost Kåre has an unusual timbre. He sings with a deep gothic bent to his voice but he is quite happy to add plenty of expression to his voice too – it is far from one note. This means the lighter rock piece ‘Lifetime Commitment’ channels something closer to The Cure than anything else on the EP. The title track ‘Sugarcubes’ comes in two mixes, the standard original and a Japanese Mix. The original is a heady mix of reverb guitars, industrial synths and big drums. It’s classic late 80’s post-punk in its style, possibly because Permafrost originally formed in 1982. It just took them almost 40 years to get their music recorded! The latter mix pumps in backing vocals by Tsugumi Takashi and Yoko Sawai to give it a more whimsical chorus and hook.
A great introduction to a band that deserves a bit of love with their exceptionally long lead-in time, Permafrost do post-punk right. Anyone who enjoys the genre will find plenty to love here. Let’s hope it’s not another 40 years before we get a full LP!
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