Ex Norwegian Standby

Ex Norwegian are very firmly stuck in the '90s. Their love of the decade that saw the rise of so-called alternative music in the mainstream is the overriding influence on Standby, and so opinions on their debut will be highly dependent on how you feel about that era. Standby features a dozen succinct blasts of pop that fortunately never overstay their welcome, but they don't demonstrate much in the way of imagination either. Taking their cues from Weezer and Redd Kross, Ex Norwegian power through the songs, and for the first third of the album it works pretty well. But eventually it sounds like they're just going through the motions. Ironically, one of the strongest tracks ("Fresh Pit") features former member Michelle Grand on vocals, suggesting she could have added some variety to their sound. Even though Standby isn't unpleasant by any means it is too familiar to get excited about. (Dying Van Gogh)