An English music critic once wrote of Kristoffer & the Harbour Heads, “they are three nice blokes from Sweden, but sound like seven men from Mars.” That might indeed be the best way to describe the music of Emil, Joel and Kris, the trio who performs as Kristoffer & the Harbour Heads, and are gearing up for the U.S. release of their latest record, EX/EX, on November 4th.
Today, Elmore is exclusively streaming EX/EX, an album that proves to be as cross-continental as it is extra-terrestrial. First, co-producer James Salter (Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, B52’s) flew from the U.S. to Kungsten Studios in Gothenburg to help the group cut the record, an ambitious work which they wrote and recorded chronologically in order to capture an organic sense of flow. After the album was recorded, it was sent to Jimmy Johnson’s studio in Muscle Shoals for mixing.
Kris Ragnstam, the band’s singer, admits that the American influence on the album was no coincidence. “I have always been fascinated by America,” he admits. “The way you broadcasted your visionary pop-art during the ‘60s… It came to me as a mesmerizing storm during the mid ‘80s. I’m glad I had the opportunity to tour from coast to coast a couple of times. And thanks to sessions in Muscle Shoals, Alabama to shows in Aspen, Colorado with everything between, I feel like I’ve seen the country with my own eyes. Coming back to the U.S.A. with our new album, EX/EX, makes me extremely excited.”
This is a band who sites Pink Floyd, Outkast, Elvis Costello and the Zombies among their many influences, an as soon as you hit play it’s clear that this is a unique offering—indeed, from first to last, EX/EX is a curious, brilliant blending of the familiar and the strange, the serious and the completely irreverent. Just listen to the opening lines of the album: “Got a killer whale in my bath tub, not friends with it from what I recall.” The whirl of Hammond Organ, steady pulse of drums and soulful, measured croon of Ragnstam’s voice buck against the synth driven, dance-floor ready beats, as the album unfolds track after track with electric spontaneity and plenty of sonic surprises.