The Norwegian band I Was A King is the brainchild of Frode Strømstads. The new self-titled album, which follows 2007’s Losing Something Good for Something Better, features Serena-Maneesh’s Emil Nikolaisen on bass, drums and a co-production credit, alongside guest spots from Sufjan Stevens, Danielson and Ladybug Transistor, among others. But even without “star” contributions, the 15 tracks add up to pleasingly dense, tuneful, and ambitious batch of psychedelic power pop. The layers of sound will likely appeal to fans of Olivia Tremor Control as much as older tastes a la Strawberry Alarm Clock. (There’s a song about “Golden Years” and some of this is vintage.) Teenage Fanclubbers might also want to pay attention; and, after listening to the burnt guitar soloing, you’ll understand why Strømstads has Dinosaur Jr. in his Top 8. Today (1/27) I Was A King released a 7″/digital single for “Norman Bleik” and the piano-fronted “It’s All You” (which includes one of Sufjan’s guest turns). You can take a listen to “Norman Bleik” here.
The “Norman Bleik” 7″ is a split release with Hype City/Morningside. If you’re curious, you can hear the Sufjan track “It Was All You” at MySpace or download MP3 below. Stevens goes for it. He actually appears on 4 tracks — “Still,” “Stay Warm,” “It’s All You,” and “Fading Summer” — if you’re one of those completists.
I Was A King is out 4/7 via The Control Group. The band will tour the US in June.
[Band photo by Fotonils.com]