22: Flux

Norwegian newcomers aim prog at the charts.

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Exactly how do you make technical and tricky hardcore appeal to kids brought up in the high sheen pop era typified by shows like T4? Well, despite the Google-unfriendly name, Norway’s 22 may just have hit upon the answer with their ambitious debut album.

The influence of The Blood Brothers casts a giant shadow across the unpredictably twitchy stabs of guitar that Flux is built on, skittering like spiders and clinging onto a punk rawness that bows at the altar of Seattle. So far, so plaid-shirt hipster underground.

But 22 have a secret weapon in the shape of frontman Fox. For all their complex math-rock rhythms and prog wig-outs, his clear, resonant voice is so purely pop it can’t help but draw in a wider, and younger, audience. None of this is accidental. With its sci-fi synths and big, starry-eyed chorus, Disconnecting From The Grid is snapping shamelessly at the heels of Muse, while Kneel Estate almost sneaks an R&B vibe into the mix.

In this era of shuffled iPods and debundled albums, musical genres rub up against each other in a manner unimaginable over a decade ago. 22 create a mixed musical palette well suited to the times.

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.