(NB – I wouldn’t normally commission a review of an album that was released some six weeks previously; however in this instance, the writer has been so passionate about wanting to cover it, and so forthcoming with the circumstances as to why it had taken this long, that I am going to make an exception. Just this once, i hasten to add! – Albums Ed.)
There’s no doubt that Hajk know how to write captivating electro-pop. Drama, the latest album from the Norwegian outfit delivers some of their best work. It’s both musically and lyrically challenging, whilst also showcasing the bands confidence in their own talent and a mature understanding of the musical genre within which they sit.
This album is an honest and enjoyable manifestation of music. The title Drama is fitting, in that the band turn some difficult conversations into beautiful songs. With opening track ‘Keep Telling Myself‘ where singer Preben Sælid Andersen states “This is everlasting love, I’m afraid I’m out of love” or on track ‘Get It Right‘, with its lyrics “I need to know if I’ll ever get up again“.
It’s refreshing to hear a band openly highlighting the bitter-sweetness of life and its often hard lessons. They’re obviously exposing lived experiences and we need more of those real, down to earth hardships, that we all have in common. Even in the album’s shortest song/interlude ‘Sorry‘ which is only two minutes long, the vocals are straight to the point and hard hitting: “sorry, I did not know right from wrong and now you’re in a song. Sorry I didn’t mean to make you cry, guess this is goodbye’. We’ve all been through the situations that Hajk created songs for in this album, which makes the record feel like an old friend that you’ve always known.
The fact that ‘Breath‘ was the song that the band have chosen to release as their single this year, is no surprise. With its hard hitting New Orleans horns, matching perfectly with singer Sigrid Aase’s sublime voice, as she tugs at the heartstrings with lyrics “it’s suppose to hurt for it to be real“, it’s a hit in the making. ‘Dance Like This‘ is another strong contender for radio play and summer playlists, with its fun and dance inducing tempo.
This is an album that will comfort you during the hardest of break-ups with songs such as ‘Time to Forget‘ and then lift you up again with others such as ‘Dance Like This‘.
Drama is versatile and Hajk should be proud of this body of work. It goes deeper than their 2017 album HAJK and it shows that life and lived experiences are still the best subjects for brilliant music.
Drama is out now on Jansen Records.