The sound of Norwegian synth-pop group Casiokids’ latest LP is inspired by the story of an adventurer’s discovery of a hidden rainforest. It certainly shows—Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen (“the revelation over the mountain” in English) is lush, mysterious and brimming with wildness.
Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen is a four-paws-on-the-floor record: You can dance to pretty much every song on this one. Lithe basslines creep alongside maracas and bongos on “Olympiske Leker,” and “Selskapets Triste Avslutning” sees several members of Of Montreal adding their freak-funk to the mix. Kevin Barnes and co.’s influence doesn’t end there; tracks like “London Zoo” are chock-full of the band’s signature touches: pogo-ing basslines, velvety falsettos, undeniably catchy pop hooks.
Elsewhere, slinky, electronica numbers lurk in the shadows like jungle creatures—the glimmering “Kaskaden” is a playful blend of Eastern folk and throbbing house, while “Elefantenes Hemmelige Gravplass” is a more subdued foray into African-infused chillwave. Especially delightful are the forays into uncharted territory. “Dresinen” cuts into the loopy brush with jabs of angular guitar, an instrumental touch as of yet unheard from the group. It’s adventurous, but it works within the confines of Casiokids’ decisively playful sound. It’s really a shame there isn’t more of this guitar work on this album.
What makes Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen so refreshing is that Casiokids celebrates the primal core of dance music—the heartbeat of the bass, the breath of the synths—and recognizes that really, it’s all you need. All the loops and effects are nice embellishments, but they mainly exist to complement the simplistic centers of the songs, rather than to serve as gimmicks. Ultimately, under the unifying sound of Casiokids’ youthful pop, African, Asian and Norweigan influences combine in blissful harmony to create the ultimate musical expedition. Better grab your safari hat.