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Oslo City

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Album Review

"Kicked out-Kicked In" was the fist-pumping anthem of Mensen's 2000 full-length debut, Delusions of Grandeur. With its disaffected lyrics and a guitar riff set to full auto, the song defined the Norwegian punk quartet's scrappy sound. The Runaways/Joan Jett influences are still front and center on Mensen's 2003 follow-up, Oslo City. But the songwriting has grown stronger, without losing any of the grit or vodka-heat lighting that drove the band in the first place. "Move Over" is a one-minute-and-35-second bopper complete with a chorus full of "Woah-oh-WOAH-oh!"s that will sound great in a red-lit basement club somewhere. The hip-shaking continues with "Start Over Again," which seems to have bitten the head off of a new wave dance single and screwed it onto the body of a punk rock shouter. Mensen shows some real depth with the '50s teen-angst pop of "Bosnia," which is made even better by spectacular production (incorporating acoustic guitars and glockenspiels over girl group harmony vocals). The song is a nice respite between the sweaty, fist-pumping bursts of melody-drenched punk that are Mensen's bread and butter. Oslo City ends strong with "Sandy Starlight," which represents best the progression of Mensen's sound. As a tightly wound, heavily distorted bassline combines with lead guitarist Christine Sixteen's fiery leads, Mary Currie's vocals trace the story of her titular character with both poignancy and punk rock fury.

Biography

Formed: Oslo, Norway

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Emerging from the same Norwegian rock scene as Gluecifer and Turbonegro, Mensen was a punk rock quartet influenced equally by the Runaways, Dead Boys, and contemporaries like the Hellacopters. Led by the guitar and vocals of Mary Currie, the band also included Christine Sixteen on lead guitar, Power Plingis on drums, and bassist Rambling Roy. Mensen first appeared with a 7" for Hit Me! in 1998; contributions to various compilations and a few more singles followed before the 2000 full-length Delusions...
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Oslo City, Mensen
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