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Gimme Ten by Norwegian trio Ungdomskulen is a collection of ten songs that are one minute long in duration. Therefore, we have a ten minute long mini LP. If Andy Warhol was correct about 15 minutes of fame, Ungdomskulen are destined to perform their album in full before filling up the final third of their allotted time explaining the point in releasing an album of ten one minute songs.
In Gimme Ten they have crafted a record for people with a near non-existent attention span. The ten tracks are immediate, catchy and energetic. With a sound best described as angular and post-punk, it is reminiscent of Foals before they went all glacial.
Like all good bands singing in their second language (ie, Kraftwerk) the lyrics routinely contain unconventional and entertaining turns of phrase that leave you scratching your head. “I do not worry because you keep the knife on my plate” is a prime example. The less perplexing, “You can take your silver spoon, and stick it to your mum”, showcases their tongue in cheek humour, or a misguided application to be crowned ‘Norway’s Working Class Heroes 2011’. The less hyperactive ‘Walking The Dog’ brings to the fore some dub bass to hold the song together. While ‘It’s Official’ somehow simultaneously pulls off being sleazy and endearing.
The annoying thing with Gimme Ten is that the songs are good. They have character, energy and wit. I really can’t understand why they didn’t just flesh them out. They have done conventional releases before, such as Cry Baby, that garnered credible reviews. Whatr we are left with here is essentially a collection of well polished ideas.
It’s a little bit hard to get beyond the gimmick. Like the absent father who went out to get a packet of cigarettes and never came back, nothing sticks around long enough to leave a lasting impression. No matter how hard you look for a positive from the experience, ultimately you’re left feeling short-changed.
Ungdomskulen have attempted something different, blurring the lines of conventional record releases, and I respect their endeavour. There is a lot of promise shown by Gimme Ten, yet call me conventional, or old fashioned, but I prefer albums to be longer than a lap dance.
Upon release, each song is to be accompanied by a video courtesy of Blank Blank, a Berlin based production company. This might enhance the listening experience. I often found longer, expansive songs easier to digest and value with accompanying footage, acting as a doorway to appreciation. Within a different format Gimme Ten might make more sense. Then again, you could always get to the end of the video and think to yourself, 'Wow, those songs were quite short. What was the point in that?'
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