The past few years, 2014 especially, saw the renewal and reinvention of the post punk genre. The reunions of bands like the Pop Group and the creativity of newcomers like Psychic Teens have paved the way for plenty of new blood. One might expect a genre facing such a renaissance to quickly become over-saturated, and while the jury is still out on whether that will happen, it doesn’t seem to have happened yet. Swedish punk group RA, who describe their sound as “nordic-noir,” may be one of many bands taking on the style, but their debut full length Scandinavia still manages to make a splash.
RA’s brand of punk is dark, it’s weird, and disjointed, which is exactly what post punk bands should be aiming for if they want to stand out. Scandinavia‘s opening track, “These Days,” is atmospheric and hazy, and and jumps between energetic and lethargic at the snap of a finger. They make sure that listeners never feel quite comfortable. Sometimes post punk needs to be a bit alienating, in fact most of the best bands in the genre are, and RA provides that element with their discordant synth-filled interlude “Scandinavia,” which comes half way through the record. This is not the only moment where electronic music makes its way into RA’s sound either, the final track on Scandinavia, “Winter 2012,” is ripped straight out of the 1980s – a callback to post-punk’s roots.
There have been a lot of post-punk releases lately, from both old legendary bands and brand new artists, and the style may be close to running out of ideas, but for now we can sit back and appreciate all the interesting new music coming out. Nordic-noir tells you all you need to know about RA and their release Scandinavia, and that is certainly what many post-punk fans are looking for at this point. RA isn’t revolutionary, their style of punk won’t change the genre, but they make a heck of a fun addition to the canon.