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Lokoy & girl in red (NO) – “Malibu”

Although Lasse Lokoy appears to be a newer name in the world of forward-thinking Norwegian artists, he’s no stranger to success. He’s already well known as the bassist for incessantly buzzy Norwegian band Sløtface, which kept itself insanely busy in 2017 and 2018. The constant craze around that band’s agitating punk seems to have not been quite enough for him: he’s heading into 2019 with his debut solo EP, Can We All Go to Bed,  in hand. Its second track, “Malibu,” is a collaboration with Norwegian bedroom pop sensation girl in red that showcases each artist’s massive potential.

From the moment its dissonant chirp of an introductory groove locks in, “Malibu” is instantly enticing. Lokoy unwinds his initial, unsettling synthetic whine into a pulse that’s both throbbing and warm, and girl in red’s faintly hazy, mid-register questioning injects his shuffle with an enticing dash of regret. The chorus continues along a nearly identical melody that enhances the already-gripping contrast between the blissful bounce of the music and the remorse of the lyrics.

And then, a twist: heading out of the first chorus, Lokoy and girl in red re-encounter that grating synthetic whirl that briefly opens the song. This in itself isn’t so shocking, but without its reemergence, the two couldn’t pull off what happens next: before Lokoy can finish singing, he gets cut off by a rush of fuzz-drenched screaming and aggressive drum machine triplets.

“It’s not the height of the man that gives the length to his shadow,” begins Lokoy, but he’s interrupted just as these unexpected, more forceful elements come thundering in. He manages to get “It’s the height of the sun, it’s the height of the–” out before this lacerating moment sneaks up from behind and surprises him. His shock wears off quickly, as he and girl in red quickly return to the song’s previously established, delightful melodic motif just seconds after this segment.

A press release describes “Malibu” as “an adventurous pop track about how surroundings can complicate a relationship,” and its harsh midsection certainly adds layers of complexity to this fated Norwegian collaboration. Just as fated might be the success Lokoy is due to find on his own with songs like this, Sløtface-associated or not.

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