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Noise in Scandinavia

Over the past decade, musical stylings from 40 years ago have defined a new generation of dream-pop and post-punk.

By John Maniace

Photo by Spotify

The Scandinavian region's noise rock and dream pop have erupted as of late. The post-punk sound that defined the lives of people in the late 1980s and 1990s lives on in the rock scene in this region, through acts such as The Entrepreneurs, Boundaries, and Makthaverskan.

The first of the three hail from Copenhagen, Denmark. Their debut EP was released in 2016, and the trio has since released three full albums. The noisy stuff is most prevalent on their first EP, Tony Rominger. In “Noise and Romance,” the audience is exposed to pop-influenced rhythms that invoke a “Strokes” type of feel. Lead Singer Mathias Bertelsen’s vocals create a layer of nostalgia, as the lyrics bring the audience into different rooms of loud stagnant guitar riffs or softer acoustic “Doves” sounding melodies. The best part has to be the guitar tones present in all of their songs. The rhythm guitar conceived a wall of sound that encapsulates the reader, while also having a lot of dynamic parts.

Another gem from Denmark is Boundaries. It consists of four members that explore faster shoegaze and noise. A lot of the rhythm guitar uses the tremolo bar that adds a wailing layer, as seen in the song “Always a Way.” The lyrics are very introspective, and often explore the struggles of day-to-day life, which makes it very relatable for its listeners. Boundaries is definitely the noisiest out of the three bands, and someone who is into that classic sound of Slowdive or Bethany curve would enjoy the darker melodies. Songs such as “Harness” sound as if they could be straight out of the famous U.K. shoegaze scene.

A big influence on both of these bands is Makthaverskan. This band is definitely the most dream pop out of the three. Many of their songs possess catchy melodies and upbeat drums that make them very digestible to listen to. Vocalist Maja Milner seeps into the ears with ease, similar to an Elizabeth Fraser-esque way where language does not have to exist to evoke emotions. The bass bleeds evenly into the bright-sounding guitar with wide strum patterns that feel as if the sound is breathing. Their first album, which is self-titled, was released in 2009 and introduced themselves with an indie pop and punk sound. Since then, they have stuck to similar sounds on albums, but the instrumentals have evolved into more of a gaze.

Apart from these three, there are tons of other bands to check out in the Scandinavian region that are revitalizing that 80s post-punk sound. The scene will probably continue to flourish post-covid with tours in full effect.

Even though many will say this has been done before, when an entirely different culture explores a genre, it will always add to the conversation rather than prolong it. With music more accessible than ever, the ability to explore these different variations offers listeners more musical freedom than ever, and gives these foreign acts more reach.

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