Information on who the Norwegian-based artist Cashmere Cat is scant: some sources that he is 24-year-old Magnus August Høiberg, while others claim it’s a woman. Whoever s/he is, the one thing we know for sure is that both the artist name and release name for Cashmere Cat’s Mirror Maru EP were generated by some description of random name generator that spits out a random spaghetti of words. (Well, okay, we don’t know that for sure but it can’t be far from the truth). What I do know is that this four-track EP is a genre-defying mash of orchestral symphonies, warped foley sounds, slow jams, bass notes, and electronica that has been catching a lot of attention in the electronic dance music scene. Incredibly upbeat and refreshing because the sounds feel so new.
I discovered American alternative-rock band AWOLNATION a year ago, around the time when its single Sail became a massive commercial hit across the Atlantic (even going platinum), especially – for some bizarre reason – among extreme sports fans. Blame it on the fact that they are signed on with indie label Red Bull Records, or perhaps, as Sail‘s lyrics go “blame it on my ADD”. Since then, their first album Megalithic Symphony has grown on me.
To say that AWOLNATION’s is similar to the “new” Linkin Park would be a fair comparison, I think. (I realise that itself can be a very divisive statement to make as there’s a fair share of detractors to the direction Linkin Park has taken, but I happen to like them a LOT too.) The similarities are so close that Megalithic Symphony has non-music tracks Some Kind Of Creature and My Nightmare’s Dream that I found very much like The Radiance / Wisdom, Justice, And Love in Linkin Park’s A Thousand Suns album, apart from the alt-rock-with-nu-metal-esque vibe in general.
The life-force of this band is lead singer Aaron Bruno, who weaves through many different alt/indie rock styles in Megalithic Symphony. His personality does overshadow the band as a whole; in fact, AWOLNATION gets its name from Bruno’s nickname ‘AWOL’. (He also tries to crowd-surf during every single live performance, according to what he said when I saw them live in London this year.) While some may call that approach incoherent, I quite like how varied this album is: from Soul Wars to People to Burn It Down to Jump On My Shoulders to All I Need, AWOLNATION will remind you of what many 90s alternative rock bands stood for.
Rating: 10 / 10