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19 EP artworkReleased: November 2014

Described as “Danish indie trip-hop” and enjoying praise from publications all around the globe, Mont Oliver is an act with plenty of uniqueness and intrigue. Blending the sounds of soul, hip-hop and dance with chilled beats and lead singer Jacob Hammersoj’s irresistible vocals, this short but demonstrably sweet EP boasts plenty of class and paves the way for more exciting sonic exploration from this Scandinavian trio.

The record’s opening title track comes crashing in with a textbook Kanye West beat, the kind Yeezy uses to recall old-school hip hop styles on his more recent work, but in terms of aesthetic that’s about as far as Mont Oliver go when it comes to modern R’n’B influences. Far from the self-aggrandising, arrogant style of its urban contemporaries, this group injects emotion and love into these four tracks of soulful underground experimentation, with both the fine production and skilful instrumentation playing their parts behind Hammersoj’s sensational vocal efforts.

One wouldn’t believe he is from Denmark as the frontman croons and wails his way through the duration of 19; his is a voice more befitting the deep south of 1960s America with its smooth melodic tone and conversely powerful grittiness. Golden Glow, the EP’s final number, sees Hammersoj reach his full potential, calling upon a range of classic Afro-American vocalists in a truly triumphant performance, however the whole record is brimming with vocal intensity, his performances enhancing the drama of each of Mont Oliver’s darkly affecting songs.

White Sheets is a low key yet touching affair, its emphatic stabbing instrumentation featuring minimalistic drum pad beats and soaring synth strings to provide power and gravitas, whilst the trippy Nobody Knows uses sampled electronic sounds and repeated vocal excerpts to create a hypnotic and surreal aura that reinforces the record’s darker and less conservative style. This is the sound of the late night, of wanting to fall asleep but allowing pain and love to drive you into that liminal space of the early hours. It’s a distinctively urban affair, but 19 connects with so much more than your average modern R’n’B track could ever dream of.

The fusion of styles and genres on Mont Oliver’s debut release, as well as its multi-cultural tone and universal theme, should allow for aural empathy all over the globe. This is a really strong record that betrays this young group’s age by displaying intelligence and wisdom from Jacob Hammersoj’s emphatic vocals right down to the EP’s textural qualities and finely-tuned production. With Mont Oliver set to visit the UK in early 2015, this act is not one to be missed.

★★★★★

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