This is what King Midas wrote about themselves 5 years ago on their on website:
No one can accuse King Midas of taking the easy route. Attempting to sum up the group’s diverse history, one theme repeats itself. King Midas is the band that takes detours. King Midas is the band which in the course of its 13 years history has worked against itself. Lo-fi art rock when the rest of Norwegian rock only wanted to sound cool. White uniforms and fascist-like armbands when flannel shirts and messy hair ruled. Free-jazz sax and female gospel vocal when others were preoccupied with their fuzz boxes.
The unwillingness to conform, to not be a part of the prevailing Norwegian rock scene, stems from the band’s love of contrast. “Contradiction” runs as a red thread through their whole recording career; since they, as very young teenagers, made their debut with a vinyl single, knight’s hairdos, mirrored kaftans and LSD in their pockets. The year was 1994, but for King Midas it might as well have been 1964. A few years later they arranged Norway’s largest record bonfire in a car park, had their hair cut and set off to Berlin, with a somewhat outdated version of Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo as the only travel guide.
The result of this was the concept album “Scandinavia”, a dark and impossible piece of music, conceived in the shadow of post-communism, black markets, and odd jobs for Eastern-European mafia. “Scandinavia” was released on overtime in 1999 by the Danish playboy label ManRec, and a Danish critic reviewed the album as “Lars von Trier on a bad trip in Eastern Europe”. Another writer felt “cold gusts from the 80s, like Ultravox”. “Scandinavia” has later been defined as a Norwegian classic, but at the time synthetic art rock was perhaps the last thing the world was asking for. The band didn’t make it any easier for themselves by being inspired by totalitarian aesthetics, and letting a Moroccan friend from Namsos perform as the traitor Henry Rinnan on stage. Key words such as ultra violence, ‘trønder’-rock and Berthold Brecht were recurrent, and King Midas live performances reminded, in many ways, more of studied art performances than of rock gigs in the traditional sense.
They created music for imaginary super-8 films (“Warsawa”, 2000), and they purchased a mobile phone to share. This is how they got in touch with Mikal Tellé from Bergen, the man who released the EP “The Man from the Gas Station” and the much acclaimed and four-times nominated Alarm-prize album “Romeo Turn” (2003). King Midas was the band everyone talked about, the band that was ready to take their rightful place on the Norwegian rock throne. But this didn’t happen. Tellé’s label went bankrupt just after the release, and the already declared classic album was left in the vacuum.
The band signed with the major label Universal for their fourth album, and the expectations of a Romeo Turn Vol. 2 were sky high. Again the band served up something completely different. “The Jaguars” was a collection of Bacharachian pop tunes, produced by a synth-fanatic from Fredrikstad, Fred Ball. “What the fuck?!?” It was as if one could feel the rock disappointment spread across the country. Intellectual lounge-pop from Norway’s toughest band?
SORRY: The pressing question is: what have the five kaftan-clad knights committed this time. According to the band themselves it’s an “advanced party record”. The cocktail glasses have been replaced with plastic containers filled with distilled spirits. King Midas’ fifth long play is a party invitation of a calibre which rarely has been released on the Norwegian album market before. The title “Sorry” must be down to the previously mentioned bias towards contradiction.
“Sorry” was created in anything but comfortable circumstances. Endless night work in the studio led to literal fights, and the band could easily have become a slice of Norwegian history. Whole albums were discarded and studio equipment was donated to local flee markets. Sorry. If it is correct that great art is created through pain, “Sorry” is the evidence that the perfect rock album is created from head butts and clenched fists.
For the first time since “Scandinavia” King Midas has produced its own album. It is recorded in Gula Studion in Malmö, and is mixed by Tore Johansson, the man behind the sound of bands such as Franz Ferdinand, The Cardigans and Ok Go! “Sorry” succeeds the first two Midas-albums in the sense that there is a hint of something disconcerting about the tunes – an exalted paranoia. “Sorry” is the soundtrack to an “after party” that lasted five hours too long. It is west end boys snorting cocaine laid out as a swastika “West End Boys”. It is love as cold as a death penalty “The Penalty”. It is high teenage girls on the run “Common Kids”, and it is hallucinations of death and destruction “As I lay dying”.
As usual the references are endless. From the film “American Gigolo” to Japanese photo art, from Robert Fripp to Billy Idol, ‘discoide’ synth heroes such as Francis Monkman, Giorgio Moroder and Harold Faltenmayer. And does anyone remember the garage-rock classic “96 tears” from the underground 60s band “? and The Mysterians”? King Midas tops this with one more tear in
“97 Tears”, a dispirited salute to old opponents and distant acquaintances.
This is not the sound of a band which says sorry for anything. After thirteen years as Norwegian rock’s indisputable outsider band, King Midas emerges in 2007, sharper and more hungry than ever. They have produced an eleven-headed monster of an album, a monster that churns out an overwhelming stream of fiery hooks and shiny refrains with a powerful control.
The same monster invites the listener to an “advanced party”, and whether the party takes place in Alta, Hønefoss or Oslo only one thing is certain: This is the type of party where you wake up disoriented the next day. With clothes in disorder and only a vague memory of what actually happened. The only thing you know is that in one place or another in the same city there is a person who feels exactly like you. And that the first thing you will do when you meet this person is to hope for the best whilst stuttering the word: “Sorry”.