‘You make my sun shine’, ‘stop waiting, go vacating’, ‘go down to the sea’, ‘it’s a hot winter in my mind’, ‘with the sun on my back, it’s a nice day’: this band are on a permanent summer holiday, and their lyrics won’t let us forget it. With tons of heat-haze reverb, summertime shoegaze guitar, dreamy Californian keyboards, murmured summer-breeze backing vocals, and lazy-day melodies all over the place, ‘Where the Heaven Are We’ is full of warm, shimmery guitar-pop. ‘Red Lips I Know’ has an enchantingly chiming guitar-line, and early singles ‘Honey’ and ‘King City’ – a cheeky fantasy about Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg, set to be a festival chant-along like MGMT’s ‘Kids’ or Arcade Fire’s ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ – get breathtaking new widescreen versions.
Like direct sunlight, though, ‘Where the Heaven Are We’ is best in short bursts. It would be blissful if it wasn’t so unrelenting: however great the songs are on their own, together they're just a bit too too sweet and sunny, with prolonged exposure leading to stickiness and exhaustion. Perhaps it’s a seasonal thing, and all we need to fully appreciate this particular musical heatwave is another long, hard winter. On the other hand, since the album’s last lyric is ‘seems like it’s never getting cold’, it sounds as if Swim Deep will be spending Christmas on the beach.
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In case you didn’t know, Scandinavia is cool right now. The food, the fashion, the facial hair – plus the Vikings have invaded the British Museum. All we need next is a healthy economy, a reliable public transport system and a sense of social justice, and London will be indistinguishable from Oslo. Meanwhile in Hackney, there’s yet another Northern European-inspired incursion. Or apparently so: the website claims this bar-restaurant-club draws on ‘a Nordic aesthetic’, although it’s not immediately obvious within. Oslo occupies the previously deserted old Hackney rail station and takes on a bit of a railway theme with its luggage-rack lighting, plus there are industrial stylings that give the whole place a Janet Jackson ‘Rhythm Nation’ video feel. The restaurant part is rather fancy, its food incorporating a few of the forages, pickles, jellies and marinations of New Nordic cooking. The kitchen is regularly given over to guest chefs, and you have to book – it’s always heaving. Eat in the bar and the food is more straightforward. Where once the standard snack in pubs was a toastie, sausage roll or pork pie, now it’s the slider or fried chicken. These are served alongside frankly obscene portions of chips, slathered with the likes of cured bacon fat and bacon salt, or braised oxtail, gravy and cheese. There’s a commendable range of craft beers from the vicinity, including a couple from Five Points Brewing just five minutes up the road at the Downs.Head upstairs and you’ll find a
Venue says: “Join us every Thursday night until late for Soul Soul Soul – a night of vinyl appreciation with DJs playing soul, funk, disco and more.”