Here is something quite ‘art school’. It’s a three-piece group called Hvitmalt Gjerde. The band hails from somewhere in a neighbourhood called Minde in Bergen, Norway, which is a very nice place. In fact, I think I may have even seen them in the crowd somewhere at the last Mojo Weekend there in October.
They aren’t particularly new because they’ve been going for a while and are well established on the Scandinavian DIY scene; however, you’ve probably never heard of them if you’re not Danish, Norwegian or Swedish (I mean, if you’re Finnish, you’ve probably never heard of them either). For the sake of saving time, I’m classifying their music as Nordic Surf. They remind me of this other band that came to London recently from Sweden called HOLY. Similar sound going on with lots of washed up slap back echo on the vocal and the twang of a fender twin amplifier, but maybe slightly less going on compared with their Swedish counterpart.
Fun Fact: I like it when he uses that open E7 chord on “Vil du holde min hand.”
I like their subtlety both aesthetically and musically. The art direction is pleasant, which is mostly done by Kim Hiorthoy. The only trouble is that I can’t really hear any solid songs, but there are bits and bobs of little embellishments that are like little tasty sound bites and that’s always nice.
It does start to become a little bit testing at times because it’s like listening to The Strange Boys without the pay off. Maybe I will change my mind as time passes. “Jeg finner deg” is just one of the standout tracks because it’s a pretty melody. The same can be said for the guitar riff throughout “Om Jeg Spør Deg Pent.”
Overall, I find it a struggle. Is it the song writing? Or is it the production? Maybe a bit of both production and song writing, but Hvitmalt Gjerde is having way too much fun and there does come a limit.
Despite my discrepancies with the material, I would still rather listen to this band than one like the Dum Dum Girls, for instance. Hvitmalt Gjerde is good. I just couldn’t handle a whole record of it, that’s all. So that’s why I think you should check them out.
By Tom H. Wing