This lovely, cranking, agricultural machine of a guitar noise...
Never heard of Jenny Hval or Håvard Volden? Or Lost Girls, the name of their group? Same here.
A drum machine programmed with a conga beat, something maybe Gloria Estefan might have sung something sunny over, Jenny sings and speaks with the almost BBC Radio 4 accent that so many Nordic female singers manage, words that are sweetly profound. I think, because I’ve listened five times now and still haven’t really noticed.
Why don’t I know what the fuck she’s on about? Because there’s this big honking guitar distracting me. This lovely, cranking, agricultural machine of a guitar noise. Each chong and kreck and ding just about landing on a beat, accidentally finding a tune, also suggesting a tune and, even when Jenny overdubs her vocals, creating a small heaven of harmonies - the machine still dominates.
Machine. The things you use to tune a guitar are machine heads. There are knobs and dials. It’s electric. You have to switch it on. It’s a machine and occasionally it makes an original noise, normally after a toddler finding the guitar leaning against dad’s amp for five delightful, innocent minutes which only dad finds delightful. And even more occasionally or less often the noise makes its way into something resembling a pop tune and that’s Real Life by Lost Girls.
So, yes, it’s possible for there to be a modern cousin of Link Wray recording The Rumble, it happens to be over a retro conga beat and accompanied by an ever-so slightly ethereal Norwegian ex-Goth singer. If a singer is ever the accompanist to a guitar player?
They also have an album just out now but none of the tracks I’ve heard quite match Real Life. Here’s the album, go here
to hear it.