You don't have to be a teenager to be overjoyed at the simple prospect of being in a band, but it helps. Norwegian lasses Razika roll out a debut disc, Program 91, that is bursting with joy; all rocksteady guitars and ska rhythms, lyrical romance and girl-group harmonies. They manage to sound youthful and nostalgic at once; as if, at the tender age of 19, they're already feeling the sad ache of the passage of time. Their 2 Tone twee captures a carefree spirit that listeners can identify with their own youth. Hell, the opening cut's called "Youth," and finds Marie Amdam caroling "you leave me thinking of your wasted dreams" amidst lyrics swimming through a "haze of drunken days," sunlit memories kissed golden by guitars that glint sunny and bright.
Destroyer isn't the only Canadian one-man-band to make a magical soft-rock revivalist record in 2011. Edmonton-born, Montréal-based bro Sean Nicholas Savage strikes a post-Ariel Pink pose on the awesomely-titled Trippple Midnight Karma, making mutant recreations of the AM ballads of the late-'70s/early-'80s. He hits on a sweet sound of, essentially, twee disco-funk; all falsetto vocals, wobbly electronics, and blown-out recording. It looms as a potential breakout record for Savage, who's spent the past five years churning out semi-official CDRs and home-made recordings, but been thus far relegated to minor cult status. Where prior outings have been scrappy collections of collagist songs, Trippple Midnight Karma plays as a defiant album, in fine form from start to finish.