120 Days – I I

Norway’s 120 Days are a band that seems trapped somewhere between 1986 and 1990. Much of their music incorporates New Order’s Low-Life era synths mixed with an upbeat Kraftwerk groove. With their newest release, II, the Norwegian foursome continues to forge though their late 80s flavored record collection to cultivate an appealing album of danceable tracks.

The first half of II is the most memorable, highlighted by the ten-minute plus “Dahle Disco,” a slick, synth-suffocating song that can easily become a soundtrack to the late night drive to the dark side of the city to meet with your favorite drug dealer. The three track, three part “Lucid Dreams” is anti-climatic and falls apart as a triptych; I would’ve like to have seen the tracks melded into one larger composition to maintain the flow and energy.

One of the main problems with these spaced-out prog rock electronic bands is that their songs fall in the rut of being sterile and distant, and 120 Days are guilty of this crime. There needs to be an emotional connection between the band and the listener, and this is usually conveyed through the lyrics. 120 Days aren’t strong with their lyrics. On “Osaka,” the closing track of the album, the lead singer informs us that it’s “5:15 / I’m sharp and clean.” Needless to say, this Bernard Sumneresque line is empty and any deeper meaning gets lost in its own banality. Maybe if the band sang in their native Norwegian tongue, the lyrics would inherently blend and complement the music rather than working against it. Sigur Ros comes to mind as a good example of this lyrical approach.

120 Days means well. I can see their music serving as a backdrop on some violent X-Box game. But, the Norwegian noisemakers are a victim of their watered down musical genre. There are so many other similar bands creating stronger beats, stronger lyrics, and stronger albums than II. To be successful, 120 Days needs to push their sound into something larger and more convincing. Until then, the band will slowly fade away into some melting electronic landscape.

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March 7, 2012. Albums.

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