22: Flux/The Pool Sessions Reviewed

Today I’ll do a quick review of what is certainly one of my favorite albums of the year. The band 22 formed in Norway on the premise of playing 22 shows in 22 days. Before getting into the good, I’ll get the bad out of the way. They have taken this number to obnoxious extremes. The album Flux/The Pool Sessions is a “double album” consisting of 22 songs.

Now the first album Flux is 12 songs long and the second The Pool Sessions is a “live” album of 10 songs. All but 2 of them appear on Flux. So if you get the album beware. There are only 14 distinct songs and it seems to be fleshed out merely for the purpose of having 22 songs. I immediately removed the repeats. They are fun to listen to, but in a listen-through I don’t want that repetition.

That being said, this album is totally amazing. I’ve never heard anything quite like it. The main style that jumps out to me is a rock dance music feel in the same vein as Franz Ferdinand. The second thing that jumps out is the very strong pop influence. This music is fun through and through. The vibe might be likened to MGMT. It has a very addicting quality.

Standard pop and dance music would get old fast, and I would not look upon this album favorably if that were the case. This band has lots of subtle other influences. First, they love to experiment with electronic sounds and noises. This brings these songs closer to the realm of serious art.

It would be hard to call 22 a metal band, but there are very real influences that bring some sections of the songs into a heavier sound. My favorite influence is their cue from math rock. I definitely hear aspects of Don Cabellero. Rhythmically they take straightforward poppy dance music and throw in stutters, polyrhythms, and mixed meters all over. The brilliance of this band is their ability to do this without losing the fun pop feel. Nothing this complicated should be able to feel this fun and natural.

Tonally, it mostly stays in the standard pop realm, but without a doubt they venture out into some interesting tonalities. In this sense they could be compared to early Cold War Kids. I’ve read some people throw out Queen for comparison because of the extended chords constructed entirely from vocals. This extended tonality is certainly subtle and well-planned to not distract from the core of the songs.

Overall, I am completely in love with this album. If you are looking for a super fun, awesome album that has a perfect mix of experimenting electronically, tonally, and rhythmically to keep it interesting, then you must get this. These are true works of art. I give the album a 9.5/10.

Here is a sample:

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