Erlend Oye is a man of many masks, but of only one beautifully pristine voice. Originally from Bergen in Norway, he first came to light as one half of The Kings of Convenience (although he had been a member of a couple of other Skandi bands previously) and their whimsical whisper-folk. From here he travelled extensively and took an interest in electronica, releasing his own album and lending his vocals to various other acts, before forming current band The Whitest Boy Alive, who are undoubtedly firm favourites at Salmon Towers. Now two albums deep, they were originally formed as an electronic band, but evolved to contain no programmed sounds, effectively becoming a live band who play music with dancefloor sensibilities. They create lovely simple melodies that follow the clean-cut scandipop rules, held together by clever percussion and satisfying squiggly noises; kind of like if Fleetwood Mac were produced by Kraftwerk whilst ram-raiding Ikea.
Underpinning all of these ventures is Erlend’s crystalline sine-wave voice that gives everything he does a certain fragility that is soothing, yet tormenting at the same time.
This little equation comes to you from down under. Take 2008 zeitgeist band Empire of the Sun and subtract weirdo alt-folk band Sleepy Jackson’s frontman Luke Steel (his vocals are instantly recognisable) and you are left with the more frenetic dance pop producers Nick Littlemore and Peter Mayes who make up PNAU. Add to this another antipodean, Phillipa Brown, more commonly known as Ladyhawke, and you have one of the most uplifting pop songs of the last decade. It’s a crime that it never got the attention it deserves, unless you were anywhere near the corner of Fashion Street and Brick Lane circa 2009, in which case you probably never want to hear it again.