IN REVIEW: VANLIGT FOLK - HAMBO
Label: Kess Kill/Kontra-Musik
It is rare to hear a record drenched so deeply in weird and surreal imagery that also possess a cognisance of its own scope and reach. Weird is, of course, a subjective term - an iPhone or screwdriver could be weird from one perspective whilst being quite ordinary from another. However, Vanligt Folk’s Hambo is an authentically strange record, almost undeniably so.
The record uses space excellently. The negative space is as much a key part of the frame as the instrumentation and vocals. The void that looms expansively around tracks such as ‘Hitlers Dreamboy-Och Flickor’ and ‘O’ posses a critical energy. It is a testament to the production and arrangement, that Vanligt Folk are able to draw so much from otherwise minimal parts.
There is a firm grip over Hambo, a control that is atypical of artistic output associated with the strange and surreal. The weird and absurd is typically associated with ideas of wildness, craziness and therefore is loosely structured or out of control. Hambo finds a tension in the subversion of this expectation that amounts to a raw power - a controlled explosion.
Across the record, Vanligt Folk capture the allure of contradiction. By its nature, a contradiction is not a static concept. It has a foot in the rational and irrational, the real and the unreal, it can move and be invisible at the same time. In this respect, contradictory perspectives possess a freedom that a firm perspective cannot.
Hambo is all of these things. It is seemingly rigid before turning into liquid. A voice that devolves into a sound that is undefinable. It exists expansively in land and then reverberates in a well. It is both digital and organic at the same time - irrevocably strange. An anomaly. AG