The easiest description of Norway’s Skededyr is “12 musicians and an even larger number of instruments”, but those words only begin to tell the story. As might be expected from such largesse, the band produces a wide variety of sounds, from post-rock to folk, but its binding aspect is its jocularity. This is peaceful, happy, upbeat music, even in its quieter segments. While such a statement may seem nonsensical, it can be explained by the fact that these musicians enjoy playing together, even when they are nearly silent. This allows for great latitude between sprawling stormers, such as the exquisite opener, “Datavirus”, and slow-developing shimmerers such as “Bie”, which somehow manages to pick up a sing-a-long brass chorus. This latter piece seems to fall into a frenzy of scattered notes, but in a single second, everything pops back into place.
Skadedyr is clearly more interested in creativity than convention. With an ensemble this large, it’s particularly impressive to hear the players converge with a nod of the head or a flick of the baton. And when an eleven-minute track is filled with traffic noises and false musical starts, the entire playbook seems to be rewritten: that is, until the final 3:27, which would fit perfectly on a 45 and fool everyone who heard it. All the more joy, then, when the closer is also of pop single length and even finds room for Norwegian spoken word. It’s as if the band is saying, “we sometimes like to play this sort of music too, but not always, and we offer it to you as a present for being so patient.” And this is the beauty of the band: it makes its own rules, yet continues to give the people what they want, even if they’re not sure they want it until they’ve heard it. (Richard Allen)