Oslo duo Philco Fiction have been drop feeding us with tracks from their sophomore album midway through last year. Here together as a full album are singles Bodies, June 17, the title track Talk/Brag and Runimals, and they come alongside four new tracks to round out the release.
Which is to say Talk/Brag doesn't hang around and it certainly doesn't overstay it's welcome. The album is less than 40-minutes long, and with so few tracks it is hard not to want more, yet everything here is pretty much spot on. Carefully constructed and played Scandinavian pop music. Careful, understated and gorgeously infectious.
The previous singles still shine. June 17 maintains its smouldering sound and Turid Alida's soaring vocal, creating a track that sounds like it looks you in the eye as it empties your wallet. It's the aural equivalent talking to the smartest guy in the room. Runimals is both slow moving and funky as hell, the brass stabs in the bridge a stark contrast to the track's gently flowing verse.
The title track is still the sound of the band at their absolute best, an eighties riffing pop masterclass, Alida's vocals gently reverberating in the midst of strong drum kicks and smooth electronic soundscapes that feel part sassy pop, part meticulously plotted hi-fidelity dad rock.
The new tracks hold up their end of the deal. Move On Frank is moody and sparsely plotted, the lyrical harmonies betraying a sensitivity that recurs throughout the band's work. Album closer 2pm is a thrilling conclusion - a tale of dissatisfaction and malaise that descends into an extended electronic finale, pounding drums recreating the dance music Alida's vocals appear to be trying to avoid. It punctuates the album like a heavy-set exclamation mark, and leaves me wanting so much more.
Talk/Brag by Philco Fiction is out today via Killing Moon Records. You can currently listen to the album in full on Soundcloud below: