Album Review: Kasper Bjørke - Fool

7 May 2012 | 4:50 pm | Mac McNaughton

"They used to call this kind of album ‘coffee table music’ for it would ably prop up the vibes of any overpriced high street cafe."

I wonder if the Scandinavians feel short-changed. They've given us The Knife, dill-flavoured crisps and Swedish massage. In return, we've given them Princess Mary, Keith Urban and Happy Feet Two. Welcome, then, Kasper Bjørke's third, Fool; the latest Scandinavian salvo is a decent slab of no-wave electronica. Presented in two halves, the Hungry Side contains the radio-friendly electro-pop moments, featuring guest vocals mostly from Jacob Bellens (something of an indie superstar in his homeland). Lyrically lovelorn yet infused with an almost horizontal happy spirit that evokes Lambchop guesting on a Röyksopp record, the first four songs form a suite of bouncy Nordic lo-fi pop-bliss.

The elongated second half (dubbed the Foolish Side) adopts the air of a stray radio station found at midnight playing to… who knows who? D.O.A.H. potters for a good nine minutes with little but a steady hiccuping beat to carry bass and guitars stonedly being plucked and fed back. The ten-minute Bohemian (featuring long forgotten early-'80s nu-wavers Laid Back) is the jewel, subconsciously trance-dancing and mumbling to itself. The rest of the album presents itself in much smaller portions that are no less tasty. They used to call this kind of album 'coffee table music' for it would ably prop up the vibes of any overpriced high street cafe.

The division between the two sides is distinct and mostly succeeds though both experiences leave one hungry for more. Either Bjørke didn't quite have enough killer material to make for a double album, or he's holding out for a sequel later. Connoisseurs will pick this up on vinyl and insist it's perfectly formed as it is.