Label: sound as language
Released: 6th May 2022
Flight Mode deal in nostalgia. Whether that’s wistful feelings of longing, rose-tinted reminiscence or trying to piece together the people they once were, they’ve found a highly emotive seam to mine. On debut EP ‘TX, ‘98’ this was perfectly realised, and on ‘Torshov, ‘05’ the Oslo-based group have repeated the trick in spectacular style.
Like its predecessor, ‘Toshov, ‘05’ is named after a place where vocalist Sjur Lyseid has called home at some point in his life. Last time it was Texas, where he spent some time as an exchange student, this time it’s a district in Oslo where he spent part of his 20s.
Only four songs long, it’s also an EP that builds on the blueprint set out on their debut. Less indebted to the intimate work of John K Samson and The Weakerthans, instead there’s a dexterity that echoes the early work of Death Cab For Cutie, and in particular ‘We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes’ and ‘The Photo Album’. It’s perhaps no surprise, therefore, to see Chris Walla on mixing duties for two of these songs.
But while nostalgia courses through ‘Torshov ‘05’, it never feels like a re-tread of the past. It’s easy to see similarities with the current UK emo underground on the likes of ‘Twentyfour’ and lead single ‘Togetherness’, with a band refracting the last 20 years of indie rock through a solitary lens. This can only be achieved through an almost scholarly understanding of scenes and trends, but with former members of Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson and Monzano on board, Flight Mode have lived and breathed emo and indie rock for the entire period and have a deep well to draw from.
So, what we have here are four songs of the highest order, with preppy opener ‘Twentyfour’ – where Lyseid battles with mid-20s anxiety – and sombre closer ‘Do You Remember’, which features a guest turn by Keith Latinen (Empire! Empire! I Was A Lonely Estate/Parting/Count Your Lucky Stars Records) both excelling.
There’s something exciting brewing in Norway, and with the return of Spielbergs and albums by Onsloow already making a mark, ‘Torshov, ‘05’ could serve as a lightning rod for the burgeoning scene.