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CHINAH (DK) – “Strange Is Better”

CHINAH, a Danish electropop trio about whom we’ve been raving for a while now, is setting the bar pretty high with its newest song’s title, “Strange Is Better.” It’s almost as though CHINAH—whose members are frontwoman Fine Glindvad, guitarist Simon Kjær, and producer Simon Andersson—is fully aware of how bizarre and amazing its most recent single is.

“So you don’t understand me?/That’s not an issue/Gonna stay anyway,” Glindvad says through eerie layers of vocal warping as “Strange Is Better” begins, and this statement perfectly summarizes how the song’s enigmatic, ghastly form will refuse to leave any listener’s head. The track begins to approach something resembling normalcy 23 seconds in, when a massive bass drum enters and turns this whole affair into the most digestible avant-pop gem this side of Phantogram’s early output, but even once it’s found a 4/4 groove to lock into, it’s a jarring affair.

The bleak synth that runs across the floor of “Strange Is Better” ensures a dreary, ominous feeling throughout, even when Glindvad’s register reaches its most soprano—her range is itself of major note—and when Andersson runs something akin to a “synth solo” across the song’s approximate midpoint. For all its darkness, “Strange Is Better” is ridiculously catchy and fully demanding of incessant replays, so its false ending about 3:30—which it follows with an enticingly muffled reprise of the main motif—in is a powerful moment with which to wind this party down.

“Strange Is Better” is just the first taste of what CHINAH’s got in store for the rest of the year. Although the trio first popped up on our radar in 2015, it’s only this year releasing its debut album. Titled ANYONE, the LP is expected to be released on November 9, and if the rest of its songs are as incredible as “Strange Is Better,” then the album’s certain to amass the band tons more plays on top of the millions it’s already gathered on all the streaming services. Here’s to these savvy Danes taking over the world.

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