The press release for 'Legao' refers to Erlend Øye as "a skinny nerd", which is one of the crueller hard sells we've had. In actuality, Øye is a musician who trades in chillout vibes, playing a low-key, funky kind of indie rock (listen to those palm-muted chords on "Garota", and those slick drum fills, and float away). Øye once played in indie pop outfit Kings of Convenience, and 'Legao' brings back all their hallmarks, including a hefty amount of swirling keys. Recommended for fans of Scandinavian indie pop like Jens Lekman.
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Amidst the white boy cod-reggae of opener ‘Fence Me In’, Erlend Oye announces that “my well is empty, I am done, my inspiration has dried up, the spark has gone”. Well it would save people like me a job if more bands could review themselves in future.
Oye of course was “the annoying one” out of Scandinavian superstars Kings of Convenience, the man who also sang in Royskopp but his best stuff outside of Kings of Convenience was probably with The Whitest Boy Alive who have recently split up. Whitest Boy has a laid back, almost baleric sound and this continues to a degree into this project, an unlikely collaboration with Icelandic reggae band Hjalmer. Tracks like ‘Garota’ work pretty fine to me. The musicianship is smart and tight but not over elaborate, Oye’s voice is pretty sweet and it all leads to a nicely laid back chorus with flourishes of samba amidst the reggae.
However, ‘Say Goodbye’ sounds more like UB40 than anything else. Dear oh dear. Hopes that it was a one off are quickly destroyed by ‘Peng Peng’ which, if anything, is even worse. Things improve drastically on ‘Bad Guy Now’ which has a nice laid back country-ish lollop somewhere between War on Drugs and Jack Johnson. I understand if that combination fills you with fear but believe me, it’s miles better than what has come before. I really don’t know what Oye is doing here, he’s lost the electronic almost chill-wave vibe of his Whitest Boy project and replaced it with reggae. Its not the bands fault, they have a nice enough sound but to me it all sounds very much like a Boy George solo album. The thing is, as the album wears on, things only get worse. I'm not sure how much more I can take. Next!
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- Legao by Erlend Oye
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