Pom Poko

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Norway's freewheeling Pom Poko combine their jazz school training and experimental leanings into equally sugary and explosive music. Inspired by math rock, post-punk, West African music, and weird pop bands such as Deerhoof, the group introduced their loose-limbed, playful style on 2019's Birthday, then emphasized the contrast between their meticulous compositions and chaotic performances on 2021's bracing Cheater. Named after a film by Japanese animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli, Pom Poko consists of Ragnhild Fangel Jamtveit (vocals), Martin Miguel Almagro Tonne (guitar), Ola Djupvik (drums), and Jonas Krøvel (bass). Tonne, Djupvik, and Krøvel met while studying at the Trondheim Music Conservatory and initially aspired to be a noise punk trio. However, when they were asked to perform at a literary festival in 2016, they added Jamtveit on vocals and quickly wrote a set of sugary pop/punk songs with unexpected twists. The band soon started playing gigs, including a support slot for their friends Broen. Simon Raymonde, the founder of Broen's label Bella Union, happened to see Pom Poko play at this show and signed them soon after. In February 2019, the label released the combo's debut album, Birthday, which was nominated for the Nordic Music Prize as well as two Norwegian Grammy Awards. That August, Pom Poko issued "Leg Day," a stand-alone song they recorded in a northern Italian village. Another track, "Praise," appeared in March 2020 and hinted at the more volatile direction of the band's second full-length, Cheater. Released in January 2021, the album was co-produced by Marcus Forsgren and took the sweet and combustive elements of Pom Poko's sounds to extremes. ~ Heather Phares & Liam Martin, Rovi

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