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Desert Island Disc Challenge: Kaleo – ‘A/B’

Stranded on a deserted island? With an album that’s as invigorating as it is soothing, you might just get through it.

Charlotte Kohlberg



 You all remember the game from middle school sleepovers, first dates, or the get-to-know-you portion on your first day of college. If you were stuck on a deserted island and you could only bring one thing, what would it be?

Most people would bring dehydrated food, a hatchet for chopping wood, endless supply of water, or their best friend. I am still not sure if that last one is either really sweet or weirdly cruel that they would subject their best friend to the same fate but, I digress.

I would bring an album to help me get through the long days of doing nothing until a passing plane or ship sees the massive ‘HELP!’ I’ve drawn in the sand.

The album I would bring is A/B by the Icelandic rock sensation Kaleo. Although this album is not my all-time favorite (that honor belongs to Enema of the State by Blink-182), it is definitely one of my favorites. It is one of those albums that I can listen to over and over again and never get bored.

When I first heard Kaleo, I wanted to tell all my friends about them.  The album has the perfect balance of sassy, head banging rock songs and heartfelt ballads. Perfect for moments when I feel like jumping up and down screaming, or sitting by the fire and chilling out.  I’m on a deserted island after all, there are bound to be moments of frustration.

With the strum of a guitar and sudden cacophony of drums, the album starts off with a literal bang with “No Good.” Lead singer JJ Julius Son has a soulful growl of a voice that lends to their intense garage blues sound. “Way Down We Go” is a kind of preacher man song that would make a sinner sweat in church with its sexy guitar riffs, foot stomping beats, and Son’s howling lyrics “Broken Bones” is Delta Blues through and through and tells the story of a man making a deal with the devil.

The album then slows down with the folkly “All the Pretty Girls,” as Son serenades with a Bon Iver-like falsetto. “Automobile” is a feel-good song about hitting the road in golden California. Full of possibilities, this fantasy is about riding into the sun and leaving your troubles behind. T

he band lets their Nordic flag fly with a cover of a traditional Icelandic folk song “Vor I Vaglaskogi.” Sung in the native tongue, it is almost as if you are hearing a real Viking sing a song of ice and snow.

It has been a while since I’ve listened to this album, but now that I have rediscovered it, I have found myself wanting more of Kaleo’s music.

If you feel the same, have no fear, after being on tour nonstop for the past two years, the band is now back in the studio preparing their next album that is due to drop some time in 2019. Things are looking up while I’m stranded here on this island!

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Charlotte is a recent Graduate in Art History from New York University. After working at a publishing company, she realized her affinity for writing when she had to write weekly newsletters on authors and podcasts. She started her journalism career contributing for online media and entertainment source, The Knockturnal. Currently living in New York City, Charlotte enjoys going to concerts and art museums, and mixing cocktails for her friends.

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