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Posted on March 5th, 2015 (3:00 pm) by Magdalene Taylor

Though it may not be fair to group Nordic punk bands together based merely on the fact that they are Nordic, there are some undeniable similarities between Denmark’s Iceage, and Swedish newcomers, RA. What is it about that region that produces such dark, moody, and mysterious post-punk? Both Iceage and RA embody this nearly primordial, yet coolly nostalgic crooning attitude. However, RA is not to be interpreted on this basis alone. Despite the obvious features that group Iceage and RA together, RA clearly has their own sound. Their first full length release, Scandinavia, is evidence of that. Downtuned, layered, noisy, and punk, RA makes a statement with Scandinavia. They’re loud, full of attitude, and will be making a scene.

Scandinavia wastes no time. Opening with “These Days,” you get a clear picture of what’s going on. Bass propelled and full of dissonance, the punk aura of RA is on focus right away, with an added sense of venom in vocalist Simon Mino’s deep and distant vocals. There is an awesome intensity that adds a sense of wildness and fun, rather than just cold aggression. This type of song is the focus of the album, with tracks like “In My View,” “Broken Bottles,” and “Prism” all offering a perfect combination of downtuning, layers of noisy distortion, and excellent builds.

Nonetheless, there is a solid sense of dynamism to Scandinavia, though most songs have a tendency to maintain a moody attitude. Songs like “The Void” go somewhere more sinister than the focused punk tracks, with a smoother and slower rhythm. “Scandinavia” holds a similar sinister quality, with an unusual, blown out marching band beat and piano. Its creepiness is a little too obvious, but is forgivable in the larger context of the album.

RA is pretty clearly channeling certain influences and looking to give off a certain image of a group of saturnine young men. Though the album's press release cites Joy Division as an influence, it would have been clear anyway. A number of the songs, particularly “Be My Lover,” utilize highly Joy Division-esque bass lines, while “The South” might even be using the exact rhythm of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” The vocal coldness has an additional Ian Curtis quality.

Though Scandinavia might be somewhat easy to dissect, it’s still a definitive portrayal of the band’s individual sound. They do some things that have been done before, but they do them well and with their own spin. Scandinavia seems like proof that RA isn’t going to fall through any cracks. RA is fresh on the post-punk scene, and with Scandinavia, they are going to stay.

Track List

  1. These Days
  2. In My View
  3. The Void
  4. Be My Lover
  5. Scandinavia
  6. Bloodline
  7. Broken Bottles
  8. Prism
  9. The South
  10. Winter 2012
RA - Scandinavia Review
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

75 / 100
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