WHO ARE THEY? A Norwegian contemporary jazz-rock septet that was formed by drummer and composer Øyvind Skarbø (which explains the first half of their name) and dresses in marching-band gear (which explains the second half).
WHAT IS THIS? Their mostly instrumental debut album — and a disc that puts them in a class by themselves.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Not your daddy’s jazz band. Although the three horn players figure prominently in most of these tracks, the Skulekorps also like to colour outside the lines by incorporating pedal-steel guitar and banjo, R&B and rock rhythms, skewed arrangements and eccentric percussion.
WHAT SHOULD IT BE TITLED? Marching To The Beat Of a Different Drummer.
HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On a playlist with the sartorially and instrumentally likeminded (but far more rockin’) Edmonton oddballs of Wet Secrets.
WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Unorthodox, innovative, openminded, mischievous, colourful, vibrant, multi-faceted, conceptual, challenging, sophisticated.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Opening cut 1-555-3327 — one of the album’s few vocal tracks — was supposedly inspired by Nikola Tesla’s OCD based on the number three, and his death in a hotel room number 3327. On the instrumental side of things, the shape-shifting Farrier and the Hoof roams so far and wide you might need to drop bread crumbs to find your way back.
WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS SAY? ‘Who knew Norwegians could be this interesting?’
HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? Not that frequently — but you’ll get a kick out of it every time you do.
IF THIS ALBUM WERE A BAND TEACHER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? One of those contemporary-minded instructors who lets the students add some rock and pop elements to the show.
SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? I’ve been to Norway — a glass of draft can set you back nearly $20. I shudder to think what an album costs.