Sunday, March 15, 2009

i was a king by i was a king

Promotional material for I Was a King seems to enjoy reminding us that they're just a couple of musicians from Norway and guest-star Sufjan Stevens. After listening to their album, other than the fact they throw the sort of parties I wish I were invited to, I guarantee there's precious little information you can extrapolate from that claim. However, I can assure that their self-titled debut album (out 4/7) is an utterly pleasant, cliched Scandinavian pop and banjo-free affair.

In all actuality the sound of I a Was King feels a lot closer to home. Deft but sloppy narration, plodding guitars, playful yet nasal lyrics. Guys, have you been watching The O.C.? Hanging out with Jason Schwartzman? This can't be an accident -- there's even a song called "California" about -- what else? -- a girl leaving for California. Who are you, really? Come on, I won't tell. I will however hold a lighter aloft and nod my head in appreciation every time "Norman Bleik" pops up on my iTunes.

I Was a King has been subject to a lot of hype, and chances are before the dust settles and people being to listen, actually listen, there'll be a lot more. Which is a shame, since we all know that hype breeds backlash. So, in the interest of reasonable expectations for a solid and fun album, the official Confessions of a Would-Be Hipster position is as follows: I Was a King will not cure cancer. It will make you prettier or smarter. It will not do your taxes, protect your property or person in case of a domestic or international strike, or elevate your consciences to higher more transcendent sphere. It will however, make you smile. It will make you long to put the top down and drive down the PCH. It might make you dance. It might make you want to form a band of your own or at the very least take to the town for a night of karaoke. It might even serve as the musical backdrop to several fun, carefree hours with friends and family, thus serving as fodder for sweet reminiscences in the months and years to follow.

In short, this is a good album, able to stand on its own merits. I only hope we can get this message to the people who need to hear it the most.

mp3: "It's All You" by I Was King

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