Great News – Wonderfault

Written for DIY Magazine.

Norwegian daze-pop trio Great News clearly wanted to create a debut album that sounded big. On ‘Wonderfault’ they sound as though they take great joy in having succeeded with little to work with, piecing together a surreal and psychedelic atmosphere from 1980s pop-style synth.

Sometimes this creation process seems very literal, as is heard on the album’s title track, during which the echo behind the fuzzy vocals of frontman and guitarist Even Kjelby seem to have been assembled from layers of upbeat sawtooth buzz. And they could not sound any prouder. After all, it is that very happiness that gives ‘Wonderfault’ its title, having been named after the playful euphoria which stems from creating something imperfect, and above all, as natural as something so shamelessly untidy or tackily electronic sounding, can be.

Opener ‘Sleep it Off’ is the very definition of the sound of a psychedelic rock beach party, relaxingly fading under sunset, as it alternates between a beat-less wobbling aquatic aura (“where time got all dreamlike”, as Kjelby describes it during the opening verse), and heavier rock choruses. This sweltering attitude of dancing beneath a paprika sky peaks with the bongo drums and a steel pans of ‘Never Get My Love’ – a very tropical and percussive sounding ode to closing one’s eyes and dancing to forget the world around you.

The tropical instrumentation never returns. It is just one example of how ‘Wonderfault’ is a very fun stream of consciousness, which channels 99% complete ideas, as Great News play with their musical toys, giggle and move on. For the most part, against all odds, this slight untidiness works beautifully and is ironically organic sounding. However, that is not to say that the joyous charm is enough to bring energy to all tracks, as a few sound generic and unremarkable by comparison. For example, the relatively slow ‘You’re Mine’ doesn’t seem nearly as playfully tongue in cheek.

3/5

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