Hajk – Hajk

Hajk – Hajk

“I’m gonna let you come to me,” Sigrid Aase sings on Hajk‘s opening track. And I did. Aase’s confident declarative on “Magazine” introduces this self-titled debut — a fresh, welcoming blend of indie-pop — much of which you will find irresistible.

The next song, “Nothing Left To Say,” features vocalist-guitarist Preben Sælid Andersen. The energy remains fresh, but this track trades the relaxed, jazzy sensibility of “Magazine” for a driving sound. The album continues to alternate between quietly arranged pop pieces starring Ms. Aase’s lovely, singular vocal and pop rock songs accompanied by Mr. Andersen’s yeoman treatment.

On “Flowerdust,” a sparse arrangement exposes the colorful affectations in Aase’s delivery. The instrumentation here reflects in a handheld mirror the feathered, inevitable regret expressed in the lyrics; “Don’t give it up / I missed one second of our flowerdust / Don’t give it up / So suddenly we got lost.”

The band’s fresh, confident sound never fades through the ten gathered songs. Each of the them earns its place, but the Aase-sung tracks elevate the album. Of Mr. Andersen’s, “Nothing Left To Say,” “Best Friend,” and “My Enemy” are all friendly, competent works of indie-pop-rock. A prime example is the satisfying moment on “Nothing Left To Say” when Andersen promises, “If you are ever in doubt / Go ahead and shout it out, so we both can talk it through / I won’t let this fall apart / I’m gonna stick with you, darling.”

On an album full of choice melodies, perhaps none are as fine as that heard on “I Don’t Remember.” So much subtle emotion is stained into this vulnerable, withdrawing, accusatory passage: “So why did you go? / I made my bed and I did everything you told me / While you were telling me / Soon you’re gonna get over it / But when it happened / I lost myself for a second, so I don’t remember.” The rhythm section is engaged, which provides a counterpart to the diminished presence expressed by the other instruments and lyrics.

Hajk reference Dirty Projectors and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, but this five-piece’s indie-rock personality is perhaps better compared to a survey of The Shins. The songs on Hajk are inviting and sometimes even endearing.

If you tend to think of summer as a hot stretch of interminable, shapeless, stiflingly soupy days, Hajk represent a change in perspective — the antidote for winter: summer evenings offer more daylight, more opportunities to get out in the warm air. Hajk’s summery indie-pop perspective comes off smooth and refreshing. If you like indie-pop, to not listen is to do yourself injury. When you hear “Ooh, I’m gonna let you come to me,” go, and do not hold back anything.

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