06.19.13 — “In a Ground Floor Apartment” by Scarlet Chives

Scarlet Chives

If you only listen to one song today, make it “In a Ground Floor Apartment” by Scarlet Chives (2013, from the “The Timber Will Fall” single).

Scarlet Chives is a shoegaze/dreampop five-piece from Copenhagen, Denmark. They’re one of the wonderful bands on the shoegaze-centric label Riot Factory, which is based in Trondheim, Norway. Seven of the label’s nine bands are Norwegian. There’s one Swedish band, and Scarlet Chives is the lone Danish band.

I wrote something about Scarlet Chives back in November of last year, and I’m already writing about them again because they just released “The Timber Will Fall”, which is the first single from their sophomore album —This is Protection— which will be released on August 30. This is the b-side from the single:

“In a Ground Floor Apartment” by Scarlet Chives

I love how it’s simultaneously spooky and sexy. Dark and bright at the same time.
The centerpiece of it all is the voice of Maria Mortensen. It’s a big, powerful voice that you would never expect to come from a woman as tiny as she is. In many ways, her voice is very unique, but is some ways, she sings a bit like Liz Fraser of Cocteau Twins. The way she hits some very high notes, I would guess that she’s had some classical training at some point. Either way, she’s got a ton of range.

I can’t be sure of the lyric, but it sure sounds like

If we were lovers in a coal mine
We might as well be brave and stay
Coz no one is as alive as I am
No one is as alive as me.

That bit about the coal mine probably isn’t quite right. If it is, that’s a brilliant, spooky, and magically mysterious line. Either way, the next part — “No one is as alive as I am”– is still a nice line.

I love how it opens with ethereal flair. I also love the sudden turn at 0:57, when that really fuzzy, grungy bass guitar comes in. The drums get busy, everything gets a bit chaotic for a bit.

For all the glorious highs that this song takes us to with Mortensen’s soaring voice, and all the MBV-esque pitch-shifting guitars, I still like the dark depths that it also takes us to with the fuzzy bass, the heavy distortion on the guitars, and the feedback. I imagine fog machines and flashing lights.

I’ve just listened to this song about eight times in a row, and I suggest that you do the same. Play it loud with the lights low.

Stream the ” ‘The Timber Will Fall’ b/w ‘In a Ground Floor Apartment’ ” single over at the Riot Factory Soundcloud page. Look for their new album in August. You will be able to order a physical copy of it from Tiger, a well-respected bricks-and-mortar record shop in Oslo.

Technically, this came from the mail bag. I was asked to review and post about the new single. Since I already like the label and the band, it’s was no problem for me to give the band another write-up.

I’m always accepting submissions to the mail bag. I read every email, and I listen to almost everything that lands in the mail box. I love it when I discover a new favorite as a result of a mail bag submission. That’s half of the reason that I do this.
Click the “mail bag” tab at the top of the page for details about my electronic and physical mailing addresses. Keep the music coming!

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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