Ambition can come in many forms, and I love rooting it out wherever I can. Kalandra is one of those bands I didn’t expect to love, but they certainly know how to change people’s minds. Their new album “The Line” released on October 23rd, and it has proven itself to be a work of passion and insight.
Kalandra hail from Norway: Oslo to be exact. The band consists of Katrine Stenbekk on vocals, Jogeir Daae Mæland on guitar, Florian Bernhard Döderlein Winter on guitar, and Oskar Johnsen Rydh handles drums. This band, I am finding, makes music that bends genres.
The band plays a haunting, ethereal style of alternative pop. While alt pop can mean many different things, Kalandra leans towards the alternative label more, I believe. Their music has airy, wonderful vocals and definitely offers pop sensibilities. However, some of their songs have a bit more edge to them with plenty of guitars, climactic structures, and honest grit, not to mention runtimes that are outside the pop realm. The album floats between spacious atmospheres and a down-to-earth self-awareness that I find refreshing.
There is something at play on “The Line” that I also find riveting. This group of artists seem totally sold on their medium, in love with what it is they offer. From the first tune to the last, I can sense the passion they possess. It is inescapable and plain to my ears.
The album is a good length at 11 tracks with a total runtime of 48 minutes. In that space of time, we are swept away into a land of inner struggles, yet also self-confidence. These themes soak the album with a personal touch, one that feels like your friend is spilling her proverbial guts to you specifically and directly. I think the alternative side of the band shines through in those raw moments.
My favorite part of the album is the second half. In the first half, we are introduced to the band thoroughly, however. Songs like the serene “The Waiting Game” and climactic “Slow Motion” feel cinematic and so very satisfying. There also a few tracks sung in the band’s native tongue, and I feel that I can understand the emotions even if I can’t understand the language. “Ensom” is my favorite of these tracks; I especially love the explosive ending with roaring guitars and towering vocals.
For my money, the last four tracks on the album are the best, hence why I love the second half so much. “On the Run” might be my favorite overall with its flowing chorus and angsty vibe. I especially love the fiery political lyrics that really peak near the end. “Wonderland” is almost the exact opposite, with an aura of serenity and self-love. I love how lush it sounds. Then, “With You” comes along, being an acoustic ballad that reminds me of something Susanne Sundfor might create. I love the extremely personal touch it offers. Lastly, “It Gets Easier” is a cinematic, moody, luscious closer. It hovers as if on a cloud with promises of happiness and peace, and it peaks in the middle, offering a few solid minutes of cessation and light to end the album from there. It is such a beautiful track.
Kalandra’s debut has definitely grabbed my attention. I love the subtle balance between the raw alternative sound and the pop and cinema that they lavish upon it. “The Line” drifts and weaves its golden threads of emotion and artistry with clear precision and obvious passion. I’m looking forward to what the band creates next.
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