The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Todd Terje
It's Album Time Ian Wade , June 16th, 2014 15:45

Todd Terje, or Terje Olsen to give him his non-showbiz handle, arrived many many years ago, with a selection of re-edits and mixes, re-tooling the likes of 'Love Is The Drug' and Chic's 'I Want Your Love' for the modern set. He co-wrote the Robbie Williams chart-topper 'Candy', and has collaborated with Franz Ferdinand among others. His own music has been mainly all-killer, with a string of essential numbers (some here, some - like the amazing 'Lanzarote' - absent) and EPs galore.

Clearly, as It's Album Time’s title suggests, it's, um, album time, and while Terje has said that he wasn't quite as pleased with the finished product as he'd like to have been, there's been possible compromises, as he perhaps struggled between a cohesive set of tunes that work as an actual album, or an opportunity to resist pigeon-holing.

On It's Album Time, one wonders if Olsen is taking the whole thing remotely seriously. Having knocked out some amazing singles in the last few years, that operate in the propulsive cosmic disco area, the first half of the album sees him mucking about in what could be construed as playful or irritating, depending upon your expectations.

What he does have in spades, is the knack of coming up with catchy melodies and sprightly moments that cheer all. Olsen likes his music fruity, and is not beyond deploying a comedy noise or two to enliven proceedings. He's a jolly sort, is Terje (well on record at least, he might secretly chop up bodies and boil heads in his spare time). 'Leisure Suit Preben' tinkers about like the title music to a breezy spy caper, almost Keith Mansfield-esque in the cosmic cocktail end of easy listening, continuing this element into 'Preben Goes To Acapulco', where things get struttier and funky and vintage keyboards run riot jazzily. 'Svensk Sas' even drags the spectre of Shakatak into view before going a bit doolally.

A relief for those expecting the doof to arrive, is the presence of 'Strandbar', which is still the best thing one would want to hear down the rave-up when having a bit of a moment. Continuing into 'Delorean Dynamite', a linear, neon-drenched banger over an elastic, almost filthy moogle.

Very much a highpoint is a cover of Robert Palmer's 'Johnny And Mary' featuring a possibly hungover Bryan Ferry rasping over it like he's just smoked an entire carton of Superkings. It's an interesting choice of cover for Ferry, seeing as Palmer was unfairly compared up against him as some sort of cut-price option. Terje lays out nice plates of slow motion glacial throb underneath, and makes it his (their) own.  Incidentally, what with this and his turn on DJ  Hell's 'U Can Dance', may one get a bit A&R here and suggest Ferry knocks out an electronic album with some of his well-connected collaborators. Evidence so far suggests it could be utterly immense.

The finale, and perhaps best known tune to those with only a mild interest in Terje, is the marvellous 'Inspector Norse' (spies! Again!), a cheery soundbed for an evening of smiling and dancing. It ends with a large crowd singing the riff as they head off into the night, which seeing as it once was described as "background music to a beach bar" (which he agreed with), the power of the riff being bellowed by fans shows there's a bit more to it than just that. So, It's Album Time. Not a bad album at all. In fact, at points it's really rather wonderful; it's just not quite the wall-to-wall fruity bangers one probably expected, but by no means as skip-heavy as the likes of Random Access Memories.

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.