Norway’s noise rockers continue their legacy of strangeness. 7/10
Årabrot have always marched to the sound of their own drum, as it were. This isn’t a band who follow the formula of ‘release album – tour in support – win awards – tour some more’, after award nominations for their 2009 album The Brother Seed they played gigs at a cinema, scoring the music for classic silent movies. Then they named their next album Solar Anus but still managed to win awards in Norway. After being diagnosed with malignant throat cancer in 2014, Årabrot founder and front man Kjetil Nernes continued their full European tour before going for surgery.
Who Do You Love continues that trend of Årabrot doing whatever they want to and you can either like it, or not. For those unfamiliar with the band, it’ll take a few songs to warm to them and understand what they are creating. While there elements in this album which are listener friendly, it’s an uncompromising album which is sometimes prog, sometimes doom, and sometimes it’s even toe tapping friendly rhythmical discordance.
The first half of the album darts between Melvins style punk with songs like The Dome and Warming, ambient chill (Pygmalion) and everything in between, while the second half is a powerful soundscape. Look Daggers and A Sacrifice are pure unsettling menace; these are the songs Rob Zombie would love his House of 1,000 Corpses to be. It’s easy to see how this would work over a silent movie as this isn’t an album designed to be played in a club, it’s some mind-bending movie soundtrack, a work that would gel brilliantly with the most disturbing of horror movies.
Årabrot are the musical equivalent of Marmite – you’ll love them or you’ll hate them. Either way it’s a strange piece of art that it’s easy to appreciate for the work it is.
Who Do You Love is such an entrancing yet unsettling experience it has made us realise that the ratings of 1-5 that we give albums are too limited and we have to change to 1-10. If you like The Birthday Party, Swans and Big Black then you should check this out.
7 out of 10
Who Do You Love is released on September 7th 2018