Akersborg – Feelantropicoco


The last twelve months have been eventful for Akersborg. Formed last year, they bagged a slot at the prestigious Øya festival and soon came to the attention of Vinter Records. Now, the five-piece are ready to unleash their debut album and hope it can capture the same excitement and ambition as The Shape of Punk to Come by Refused. Its mathcore leanings and quirky brutality will lead you flummoxed but eager to learn more of the strange world of Feelantropicoco.

A glitchy grind of noise escapes from the speakers like a children’s nursery rhyme defiled by Albert Fish in opener, ‘Breaking Out of the Odessey’. Hardcore aggression leaves a trail of smoke in your headphones. We’re already at the fourth modulation in the first forty seconds before a female vocal arrives from nowhere like a bubble-gum pop intrusion. Drum fills and bass notes push their way to the front like sharks in an underwater aquarium. The male vocalist delves into his inner Mike Patton in the breakbeats that follow. You’ll feel like you’re three seconds behind the action. Every new turn demands a new understanding. ‘Never Ever Nothing’ is easier to follow. Here, the Dead Kennedys receive a noise-rock makeover as palm-muted guitars glide like a surf rock jive. Adding screaming vocals to this canvass puts the circle in a square peg of post-hardcore. The drums resonate like a new piece of equipment fresh from their box as the melodies squeeze through the heavy amp settings.

While Refused are the main influence on ‘Et jävla liv vi lever’, you wonder if the aim is to bewilder rather than manipulate your listening instincts. Akersborg look for your vulnerabilities like a salesman who can rely on the uniqueness of his product rather than a charismatic marketing spin. The brattish female vocals will make you wince on ‘She’s Such a Burden’. Did the band invite a six-year-old child to contribute a tantrum? How annoying is the pitch of the voice here? Mr Bungle is the default setting for this song, but you’ll soon recognise a synergy of The Pixies with the rich vocal harmonies of the 1960s’ greats of the British  invasion. The message seems to be: Visit our whacky indie cinema – you’ll never leave once we have your attention.

You can soon grow to like Feelantropicoco by expecting anything and ruling out nothing. The Danish narrator at the beginning of ‘Pit Reflections’ sounds like a Dutchman. You might need to sit down for a rest after it ends. To be fair, the hysterical mathcore and quirky dad rock moments display an admirable sense of humour. This could be the sequel to Mr Bungle’s Disco Volante. A vocoder effect is not in the least surprising among the competition of ideas. And, of course, the band take the opportunity to demonstrate their love of off-meter time signatures.

As a listener, you can allow the music to bedazzle you with its myriad genre influences. But you will leave your critical senses behind if you do so. By challenging your expectations, Akersborg hope that this will be enough to keep you at a respectful distance from their true aims. You can say hello to the new Air album on ‘2100’. Are you ready to be soaked with the love gun or do you fancy a snorkel? Yet behind the chameleon posturing is a group with an advanced grasp of vocal melodies. ‘Alarmen går’ is a dramatic alternative rock thrust with a big emphasis on carving a chorus out of the strident guitars. The unsettled nature of this song is its greatest asset – you wouldn’t be surprised if it imploded, yet the possibility of it embracing a dream pop stream-of-consciousness cannot be ruled out, either.

Akersborg call their music catchy, avant-garde hardcore. That rings true for closing track ‘Dags Marina’. The intro asks you to lick your ice cream and wait for the seagulls to come. By contrast, the next section is a colourful mess befitting of The Pixies at their playful best. Here, a shade of melancholy foreboding haunts the pleasant sway of the guitars before they launch into a violent attack of atonal grindcore at 03:40 like a case of rabies. The extreme contrasts are tingling, but they leave you a little apprehensive at the sound of the last note.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 17/11/2023

Record Label: Vinter Records

Standout tracks: Breaking Out of the Odessey; Et jävla liv vi lever; Alarmen går

Suggested Further Listening: The Callous Daoboys – Celebrity Therapist (2022), Oxx – The Primordial Blues (2023), Dead Cross – II (2022)