Ungdomskulen had a plan: they would play eighty concerts in eighty days, in America and Europe, before returning to Norway to play the upcoming by:Larm festival in Oslo at the top of their game.
It almost worked out; the intensive effort in America paid off both in terms of buzz and escalating live form. But on the plane back to Europe the AC became too much for the strained throat of singer and guitarist Kristian Stockhaus, and he succumbed to a throat inflammation. Thus the German leg of the tour had to be cancelled.
Perhaps for the better regarding the by:Larm gig, for it is a well known fact among athletes that a hard period of training must be followed by a time of rest before the Olympics. Not that by:Larm is the Olympics of music –even if the organizers seem to think so- but it is still a good thing, for the band’s performance in Oslo is one of the most anticipated ones of this year’s event.
They come across as an amalgam of the instrumental mastery and structural intricacy of prog and jazz rock combined with the sheer snotty energy of punk. Here are clever on-off melodic strands and the droning infinities of everything that is “post.” And ‘post punk’ is indeed the label they apply themselves, along with terms like ‘progressive’ and ‘new wave’.”
Pitchforkmedia wrote of their debut record Cry baby, which was released October 8th last year:
“Ungdomskulen never departs from its power-trio line-up, meaning there are very few sounds on Cry-Baby that don't emanate either from drums, guitar, bass, and vox. Cry-Baby is just strings and skins, and by necessity, it's democratic, emphasizing each element equally while covering a lot of ground, from the pop melodies of "Feels Like Home" and "My Beautiful Blue Eyes" to the noisy crunch of, well, "Feels Like Home" and "My Beautiful Blue Eyes". These songs are all motion, mixing indie-rock lightning with heavy-metal thunder and revealing a belief in rock's spiritual powers: "I feel that your fills are real," Stockhaus tells a modern drummer on "Modern Drummer". "You fill up the void that we all have inside." On one level, their approach-- the musical equivalent of running "Serpentine!"-- seems to short-circuit any stab at seriousness, not that they're trying to be the Arcade Fire. But Ungdomskulen manage to rock sans irony, finding a certain freedom in adolescent arrest.”
“Ungdomskulen are doubtlessly exhausting, but they’re worth the effort.” (8/10 Eclipse
“Ungdomskulen have arrived to smudge the stereotype.” (4/5 Uncut)
“Intriguing, uncategorisable opening shot from Norwegian nutjobs.” (4/5 Kerrang)
“( ) relentless, reckless and original as Sonic Youth.” (7/10 NME)
Ungdomskulen’s by:Larm gig: Thursday Feb. 21st, Dog A
Check them out here: