If the Strokes were 19-year-old Norwegian girls they might have broken onto the scene with a song just like "Youth," the tune that leads off this set from Scandinavian up-and-comers Razika. It's the way the guitar is strummed throughout that gives much of Program 91 a Strokes/Killers vibe but there are also ska/pop numbers like "Taste My Dream" where lead singer Marie Amdam takes the perky song into territory usually occupied by the likes of Gwen Stefani. About half the album is sung in Norwegian but songs like "Aldri" have choruses that are hooky in any language and where you'd expect a song titled "Nytt Pa Nytt" to be delivered in Amdam's native tongue it is instead delivered in English and set to a fast reggae beat where dub effects give a hint that the girls can get a little wild when they want to. Amdam has a voice that's cute and sugary and a bit breathy and vulnerable at times; if it weren't for her accent coming across with an occasional hard inflection you could mistake her work for early Lisa Loeb, especially on quieter numbers like "Walk in the Park." These girls are not trying to be the next Runaways or Bangles or the next any other all-girl group and that is refreshing; this set is not a classic for the ages but it is fluffy good fun. Besides a little international attention the girls will probably get loads of new boyfriends out of this, and if you don't think that's one of their main goals you should know that 'Program 91' is Razika-code for 'cute guy.' That whole situation may cause the next album to overflow with tales of heartbreak; all the more reason to enjoy them now.
Razika - Program 91