Oslo Ess are big in Norway and very much the darlings of Norwegian radio. The band has had quite a meteoric rise since its inception in 2010, picking up a Norwegian Grammy nomination on the way and releasing a debut album, 'Uleste Bøker og Utgåtte Sko', in 2011.
'Verden På Nakken, Venner I Ryggen' (that's 'World At Your Neck, Friends In Back' to you and me guv) is the outfit's second release. Described as asphalt punk, it is a collection of short catchy pop punk songs that seem real familiar.
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The album is quite a mixed bag. It goes from the heads down Green Day lite clatter of 'Kakerlakkene' and 'God Morgen', through the motoring alt Americana of 'Är du som Jag?' and 'Caroline', to the light ska of 'Fritt Fram'. It's all very catchy and the album zips along in a pleasingly sunny fashion and you can tell why the radio gives the band so much air play.
'Verden På Nakken, Venner I Ryggen' is quite good in an inoffensive housewife pleasing way. It is not particularly original sounding being like the sort of stuff that was getting flogged around Brit clubs and concert halls thirty years ago.
The Norwegians may be enraptured by Oslo Ess but it is hard to see where they can go from there. 'Caroline' offers a clue, I suppose, with its hints of Springsteen and Graham Parker and to be fair there are not too many outfits like The Rumour around these days.
Just a thought.
And finally, one of this five piece, Einar Stenseng, is listed as playing tangents; what the hell is that? All in all, 'Verden På Nakken, Venner I Ryggen' is a pretty, breezy, anonymous though polished album that is nothing more substantial than nice.