Releasing their eponymously titled debut album on 28th April, newcomers Hajk offer a comfortable and reliable blend of indie and pop. Having already received some acclaim and airplay both abroad and in this country with their first three singles, Hajk prove they have enough material to sustain themselves.
For the majority of the album, the vocals alternate with the songs. Between them, Preben Sælid Andersen and Sigrid Aase share the vocals. The shift between the female and male voice on each track gives a conversational quality as if the relationship that appears to be documented is viewed from both sides.
For the most part, the songs lament a love lost or certainly a relationship that isn’t working. It’s all very grown up and suburban, covering the expected territory in love songs like ‘Nothing Left to Say’ and ‘Somebody Else’. It captures heartbreak but without tipping you over the edge for a second bottle of Merlot. There’s also a strong sense that neither party wants the other to get over them an inherent sense of weediness or weakness. This might be about infidelity but no one is going out with a flamethrower or the gardening shears.
Tracks such as ‘Flowerdust’ and ‘Medicine’ are more contemplative in tone. There is a female vocal on both and the music is sparse and delicate. It is fresh, crisp air and a cosy log fire. The voice has a soft, Enya quality at times. It is a sound that matches the vulnerability of someone who has her heart on her sleeve for someone who doesn’t really deserve it.
By the time the album reaches ‘Best Friend’, Einar Næss Haugeth has found the effects button on the keyboard. It’s as if Elton John has entered the Eurovision Song Contest. As with elsewhere, the lyrics are a little bit clichéd but then they aren’t written in Norwegian.
There is no doubt that this album will have a broad appeal. It is competent and offers a security blanket for emotional release. ‘Not Anymore’ is about an absent partner and wondering when they are coming home. On the final track, ‘Piano,’ the music achieves a higher emotional pitch by virtue of louder instruments. Whilst the singer might well ‘feel a fire burning through my veins’, this is ultimately resolved by having a cup of tea and watching the sun set.
Hajk reflect on fidelity and loyalty but there is never a sense in which the listener is anywhere other than somewhere safe. This is the world of marriage proposals and soft furnishings. They are the Oslo Deacon Blue and they didn’t do too badly for themselves, after all.
Hajk will be released on 28th April 2017 through Jansen Plateproduksjon.