New band of the week: Virgin Suicide (No 93)

Meet the Danish band who sound like late-80s Brit guitar janglers given an LA pop makeover

Hometown: Silkeborg, Denmark.

The lineup: Martin Grønne (vocals, guitar), Terkel Røjle (guitar), Kristian Bønløkke (keyboards), Kristian Kyvsgaard (bass), Simon Thoft Jensen (drums).

The background: We’re at the by:Larm music conference and festival in Oslo, Norway this week, where a lot of the new acts on offer are cool, sophisticated types in the smouldering vein of Lana Del Rey or FKA twigs, or electronic solo artists, or duos in thrall to Haim and Hot Chip. So we thought we’d choose as a new band of the week a five-piece from Copenhagen who look like Danish scallies, with their normcore bowl cuts and the sort of anoraks football lads wore at the height of Madchester. If you’d have seen them hanging around the Arndale Centre in 1989, you’d have thought: “Ah, there go Factory’s latest singing.”

The band – who met at school in the town of Silkeborg, in western Denmark, before they relocated to Copenhagen and formed Virgin Suicide in 2012 – sound quite “baggy”. That is obviously a very Manchester thing, but you can also detect the bright Scouse jangle of Liverpudlian guitar pop all over their self-titled debut album, which was co-produced and mixed in Los Angeles by Sune Rose Wagner of fellow Danes the Raveonettes. There is, as a result, a west coast haze or gauzy shimmer that helps frame these songs about a young man’s “inevitable quest to lose his innocence”, as the band explain. “The album aims to reflect on our lust for love, sex, party, family, death and all the emotional contrasts you go through while finding your identity” – you can’t imagine Northside coming up with that.

They’ve supported Glasvegas and the Charlatans live, and cite as influences everyone from David Bowie and Duran Duran (which you can’t hear at all), to the Smiths and Dusty Springfield (which you can). This is keening 1960s pop with some of the kick of 80s indie – Martin Grønne sounds as if he writes his songs wearing sunglasses and a turtleneck – although the production is glossy. The surface dazzle is deceptive: beware the grim portents amid the sunshine. Those descending basslines offer intimations of something wicked this way coming.

Remember the band’s name. Self-cancellation is something of a motif – they sing about it on There Is a Glace Over My Eyes – but so is death in general: their 2012 debut single was called Killing Everyone You Know. Grønne’s creamy tones, despite the slightly anguished peal – imagine a boyband Brett Anderson – mean you can appreciate the music for its breezy pleasantness, or you can dig around to discover what lies beneath. What did they say before about their “lust for love, sex, party, family … and death”? Their lust for it? That’s dark. And this is dreampop that might just give you nightmares. Enjoy.

The buzz: “Roots in 60s rock with a touch of that slick Brit attitude of 80s janglepop.”

The truth: They’re baggy janglers with a pop sheen and a miserablist attitude.

Most likely to: Paint a vulgar picture.

Least likely to: Dream that somebody loved them.

What to buy: Their self-titled debut album is released on 1 April.

File next to: the Byrds, the Stone Roses, the Smiths, the House of Love.

Links: Soundcloud/VirginSuicideMusic.

Ones to watch: Drowners, Stealth, KAStro, Shock Machine, Gaika.


Paul Lester

The GuardianTramp

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