Normandie are primed and set for the release of their sophomore album, White Flag, having just completed a supporting run through Europe in tow of Crossfaith, as well as run of UK dates supporting Hands Like Houses (a band the Swedish four piece share many elements of their sound with), as traction builds steadily for their stylish execution of catchy pop-sensibility laden alt rock that they are so clearly adept at creating.
'Ecstasy' opens the album with a massively anthem-like tune perfect for new and old fans alike, featuring segments of crunchy guitar licks from Håkan Almbladh and huge vocals from frontman Philip Strand; this man has a set of lungs on him that could potentially go toe to toe with Patrick Stump (of Fall Out Boy fame) in a sing off. Title track 'White Flag' is full of ooh's and woo's, showcasing the band's melodic prowess while making it abundantly clear that it isn't just Philip's incredible vocal capabilities bringing the talent to this outfit. Third track 'Enough' then amps up it up on the rockier sounds as well as introducing some well polished ambience in the midst of high production value.
'Dead' showcases the band's affinity for a more pop sound whilst still retaining that full band sound, the shake-shake-rattle of Anton Franzon's drumming keeping the track ticking along until it explodes in a distortedly wicked riff towards the end. Normandie manage to perfectly blend the lines between Rock and Pop, just at a moment that you think a track is leaning more one way than the other they hit back with the opposite side of the coin. On paper they've concocted a recipe that'd pen them as destined for huge success, being comparable to other notably large pop influenced rock acts such as All Time Low, Imagine Dragons, and even the more recent material from Biffy Clyro.
'Moth' is a hip shaker, full of groove and an infectious bassline courtesy of Lucas Englund that'll be sure to get any crowd dancing with guitar thrashing that wouldn't be out of place in a Metalcore band. Yet they've managed to alter that puzzle piece to fit perfectly somewhere that theoretically it just shouldn't. 'Maniacs' develops this practise further by including what can only be described as a 'breakdown-lite', with Philip delivering some of the harsher vocals that were more prevalent on previous album Inguz.
As White Flag progresses as an album, it becomes more and more apparent just how many different styles and sounds Normandie can squeeze into one package whilst still maintaining an overall style that's easily identifiable and as being their own signature blend. 'Keep Fucking It Up' borrows the writing memo from Paramore's After Laughter, discharging less than cheerful lyrical content in the form of a happy summer bop. By the time album closer 'Heaven' comes around, you'll realise that not once has there been a dull moment or lapse in quality, incorporating a range of styles from Pop and Indie through to Rock and even Metalcore. Normandie have delivered an album that should skyrocket them through the stratosphere and straight into your Spotify saved playlist, and now all that's left to do is let the rest of the world catch up with them. A well deserved [9/10]
Normandie will be playing a UK late night album release show on 2nd November at Scala, London.