Although Norwegian electronic experimental group Casiokids released their first album in 2006, the naïveté — childishness, almost — of their early release continues to define their stylistic mélange in their latest release, translated to ironically mean Great Vibe At A Local Bar. Their novice approach not only describes their attitude to their niche-y genre of Norwegian indie pop (upbeat and melodic, most songs are all about having a good time), but their entire approach to their newest electronic collection of songs as well. In “Fot I Hose,” a repetitive cymbal rhythm with telegraphic bass shifts randomly to allow alternate slower maracas to come through as a sort of bridge, but the combination fails to reference any definitive techno characteristics and, instead, shies away from them. Neither loudly lewd nor softly soothing, most tracks on Topp seem to fall somewhere in between easy listening and hardcore head-thrashing, straddling an awkward middle ground. Are we supposed to be dancing in the club or leaving it?

 

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Bits of danceable originality come through in “Togens Hule,” as a contagious percussion progression and whirring, ultra-synthesized beats give way to yawning “ya ya ya” vocals. Even so, Casiokids try a little bit too hard to create something original and, as a result, bring too many elements into their album. Taking sound bites from audiocassettes about Africa and children’s radio shows, the band overloads every track with an off-kilter cacophony that doesn’t quite work. And as the album winds down in the end, one is left wondering — wouldn’t it have been easier just spending an hour listening to the same thing in the dressing room at H&M?

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