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It’s been a while since Datarock self-released their full-length debut (the cheekily titled Datarock Datarock) in 2005. Since then, the track jacket-clad Norwegians found themselves major label U.S. distribution and have had their music featured in commercials by Apple and Coca-Cola, not to mention six separate video games. All of which means that Datarock’s sound, if not their name, is now recognized across the world.
So how have the intervening years and success changed the sound on their upcoming September 1st release, RED? If “True Stories” is an accurate barometer, the answer is not much–and that’s a good thing. Datarock is still kicking out their appealing, white boy inversion of Motown soul, replete with vivacious basslines, tweedling synthesizers, and Fredrik Saroea’s slightly raspy vocals.
“True Stories” is named after the Talking Heads song and movie of the same name, and provides one of the most unorthodox ideas for a musical homage I’ve ever encountered: all of the lyrics are song titles. To wit, the chorus begins “Don’t worry about the government / The democratic circus / Mommy, Daddy, you and I / Burning down the house.” To Datarock’s credit, this gimmick is maneuvered with an unostentatious hand and is likely to go unnoticed by many ears. The track even includes a subtle but well-placed patter of percussive instruments, perhaps as a further nod to the polyrhythmic tendencies of Byrne & Co.
In the end, it doesn’t matter at whose altar “True Stories” does its worshipping: it is infectious and positively rump-shaking in its own right.