CD: Surferosa 'Shanghai My Heart', The Scotsman, Kerrang, Manchester Online

The Scotsman 9 April, Kerrang 10 April , Manchester Online 30 March 2004

07/05/2004 ::  

Norwegian synth-punk popsters Surferosa have more fizz than a shaken bottle of Irn Bru. Shanghai My Heart powers along, having dumb, unapologetically retro fun, with stadium rock keyboard breaks, plastic punk guitars and a singer who thinks the world is ready for a Toyah revival.

First, they take the Far East - Neon Commando climaxes with the assertion "we lu-hu-huve Japan!". But, just to ensure a few European sales, there’s a track called German Socks and some French vocals on Canuba Toystore. Nothing for the South American market though - sorry, guys. Mariann’s staccato yelp gets a bit wearing after a while and clearly the band have no time for musical dynamism, but that’s the disposable, synthetic charm of this album. You just wouldn’t want them fidgeting next to you on a longhaul flight.

Fiona Shepherd for The Scotsman

It’s hard to believe any band will release a better debut than this in 2004. Already a chart success back home, this is a 12-song Easter treat – a breathtaking, technicolor riot that will make anyone with a pulse want to scream with relief. Surferosa justifiably call it thrash-pop – hyperspeed ’80s bubblegum with scratch-yer-face punk attitude.

Surferosa’s ace is singer Mariann. At 23, she’s so good, so daring and so bright you wonder if she was actually conceived onstage, perhaps the unlikely progeny of Andy Warhol and Debbie Harry. In the hands of guitarist Kjetil and synth maestro Andy, the unfashionable becomes astonishingly cool, and awesome grooves and melodies leap at you from unlikely places, all tangy and rejuvenating.

Singles ’Lucky Lipstick’ and ’Neon Commando’ are lovingly honed, quick-to-bite surges, and ’Satin Con Blonde’ a manic stampede with a suckerpunch climax. Other highlights? How about the jasmine-scented ’Chinese Moon’, the Day-Glo rush of ’Digital Audiowork Situation’ (which Mariann sings with the delight of a six-year-old on her birthday), and a berserk punk oddity called ’German Socks’. For once, there’s nothing negative, nothing about hatred.

If nu-metal really is dead, and music is becoming less selfish and more entertaining, then Surferosa are poised to rule the world. Look on the bright side – Surferosa always do.

Steve Beebee for Kerrang

(four out of five stars)

 AN ode to 'girls, pink and red-lipped girls', Lucky Lipstick won't win any awards for lyrical innovation but that doesn't matter once the chorus hits your ears.

A madly rousing shriek of "you look so good, so good, come on, come on!", this is destined to rattle about your head for weeks on end.

Second track Bim Bam Boom is Van Halen's Jump rewritten for an impossibly cute ice-blonde pop pixie, while Long Lust is far too crude to discuss here but equally infectious.

All the best Europop touchstones are hit here - the shameless pop of Roxette, the spikey electro-punk of Transvision Vamp, all held together with the chaotic cuteness of Bis.

Top this off with the dazzling Debbie Harry looks of singer Mariann and Surferosa are the best Norwegian import since A-Ha. Or at least since that odd bloke won World Idol.

What do you think of this single? Have your say.

Ian Jones for Manchester Online

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