Normandie released their self-titled EP in 2013 and followed it up with Inguz, which put them in the European limelight. They have spent the last year touring with Crossfaith and playing the bigger festivals. But, the Sweden natives had to figure out what musical route they were going to take after the departure of co-vocalist, Johan Lindstrom.
Their sophomore album, White Flag (Easy Life Records) shies away from the heavier sounds of prior releases and introduces them to a gentle wave of alternative synth-rock.
The anthem-like ‘Ecstasy’ intrigues the listener right away with its bountiful guitar riffs and sets up the energy for what is yet to come. Thematically, surrender is evident. As soon as the title-track begins you will be swarmed with emotion behind the sense of giving up with melancholic, muted guitars. The song is about a relationship that has ended and vocalist, Philip Strand sings about that broken heart—setting the tone of the album pretty acutely. Rich melodic tunes are showcased within the clever synths and clean guitar riffs in ‘Enough’ and with the poppy and catchy percussion filled ‘Dead.’
White Flag is definitely easier on the ears oppose to releases prior. It sounds more pop-centric and it is very pleasant like ‘(Don’t) Need You.’ That plays in part thanks to Strands precise vocals—’The Bell’ represents his talents well. ‘Moth’ is a definite highlight where Luca Englund delivers a memorable bass line that will have you repeat it.
The band balances alternative to its full extent. There are points in the album that are a too pop like Fall Out Boy or All Time Low but surprise you with heavier rock out of nowhere. Like in ‘Maniacs’ where Strand provides harsher more manic vocals throwing you into a loop and reminding you of the band’s roots. ‘Keep Fucking Up’ is cheerful and a total summer vibes kind of tune. But the band switches it up again to a heavier, synth-driven reminiscent of Asking Alexandria’s ‘Alone in a Room’ in ‘Fever.’
Wrapping the album up with ‘Heaven’ Normandie has created an album with all aspects of synth-rock to keep fans entertained. White Flag is lyrically strong and the music might not be perfect but will keep you on your toes. With every song comes a surprise and energy that will keep you intrigued. At times, they will sound like something you have heard before but the closer you listen, you will realize that they try to bring their own spin on this sophomore effort.