Normalize This!

Written by: HES on 04/07/2013 12:40:30

I have something to confess: I used to frequent the famous and now torn-down "Ungdomshuset" in Copenhagen. I was part of the Copenhagen ska-scene. So when Patchanka sent out a new release, I thought I'd give it a try - for old times sake. Together since 2004, the band chose the name of "Patchanka" which basically means the peak of the party and are often referred to as "bastard-ska" or "Balkan-ska". "Normalize This!" is their second studio album after a 7 year touring-hiatus.

The album ranges from classic, borderline stereotypical teenage-punk songs like "Get High" to reggae-ballads like "Modern World Sinner". However, they never really give me any ska - or Balkan or bastard. The record is called "Normalize This!" which is probably meant as an ironic joke, but that is exactly what the record is: Normalized. Everything is way too well-mixed, soft and nothing like the rebelliousness the title promises.

But getting over that quite paradoxical part of this review, there are bright sides to this album as well. As mentioned before, the songs have great range between songs and some of them are even quite well-written (again - almost too well-written). "Voodoo Spell" almost sound a bit Brit-punkish, while "Sanctuary" is almost Depeche Mode-ish in it's industrial, chanting fashion. However, I do need to stress that an off-beat drum in the back of the soundscape does not a ska-album make. This album is way closer to radio-rock than it ever was to ska or punk for that matter. The closest we get is "Bordershop King" - a well-written Balkan-esque song with an accordion hook. But the rhythm makes it neither here nor there. In general the album is missing the explosiveness of Gogol Bordello or the rawness of NOFX. That being said, I think some of these songs will sound amazing live - which makes me even more sad, because that means that the raw material is there for something great.


Download: Bordershop King, Voodoo Spell, Doc Boots
For The Fans Of: Gogol Bordello, Skalar, Sublime
Listen: Facebook

Release date March 2013

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