Album review: Normandie – Dopamine

Swedish rockers Normandie deliver a mix of highs and the odd low on the chemically enhanced Dopamine…

Album review: Normandie – Dopamine
Jake Richardson

A quasi-concept album, Normandie’s latest LP posits an interesting question: what would happen if humanity pushed its brains and bodies too far? And, more crucially, have we already done so? As a soundtrack to our troubled times observed through a neurological lens, Dopamine’s premise is a smart one, but its execution doesn’t always result in an instant hit. This is an album where the music can only sometimes keep up with the ideas behind it.

The slick pop-rock of Overdrive opens proceedings, albeit it’s a tune that’s more akin to coasting in third than it is a full-throttle experience. Flowers For The Grave is similar – a polished song no doubt, but one that feels a little too squeaky clean in comparison to the desired thematic urgency.

Elsewhere, though, Normandie hit the high they’re yearning for. Serotonin sees the vocals of frontman Philip Strand strain into a more visceral attack which suits very well. It’s a vibe they mirror on Colourblind, but this time it’s the potent drums of Anton Franzon that really hammer home the message. A biting appearance from Bury Tomorrow’s Dani Winter-Bates on Hourglass is a welcome addition, while closing track Glue also works well despite leaning far more into the band's breezier side, its feel-good factor making for an uplifting end to an album that spends most of its time dripping with anxiety.

The overall result is somewhat of a mixed bag, but there’s enough on display here from Normandie to suggest that the high they’re reaching for could still be within their grasp.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Siamese, Holding Absence, Mallory Knox

Normandie’s album Dopamine is released February 9 via Easy Life

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