Norwegian label Smalltown Supersound recently released Program 91--the debut LP by Norwegian quartet Razika. Razika consists of four 19-year old girls who have been creating music together since they were fourteen. Program 91 was recorded over a year, mainly on weekends working around the school schedule of each of the band's members. Although the album was only recently released, the group have already been covered in major publications including NME, Elle, Pitchfork and even the New York Times.
The light-hearted melodies and lyrical naivety of Razika shed homage to their age. Listening to the airy guitar tones and ensemble-like vocal work through the album, one can't help but feel young again (especially with the opening track, "Youth" overtly proclaiming "so let me share my youth/tonight/together with you.")
Program 91 has a noticeable ska-punk influence infused in each track. While Razika is quite far from anything that can be described as 'hardcore,' the up-stroked, sliding bar-chords of "Nytt pa Nytt" sounds as though the track might break into some kind of Catch 22-style brass freak-out.
The chorus-heavy guitar tones of "Hvem skal hal tro pa deg na" see the group taking a Luau-style sound that seems more fitting to a small-wave surf session in Hawaii than to playing at a bar in Norway. The album comes to a close with the more laid-back "Walk in the Park" where the feel-good youth of Razika is again explicitly exposed as it is in "Youth."
Razika are, undeniably, a pop group; while influences of ska, indie rock and punk are audible on the album, the Norwegian sound of Razika's vocal work almost sound like a stripped-down indie rock version of an ABBA side-project. Program 91 is a safe album, but while many 'safe' projects seem to drone on with the same monotony, Razika's sound is refreshing--however time will tell the members themselves 'grow out' of the youth chronicled by Program 91.
You can buy Program 91 by Razika at the following online retailers: