Normandie – ‘Dark & Beautiful Secrets’ review: would-be festival ragers

Words: Eline Joling

On their third album, Swedish rockers Normandie's frontman Philip Strand lays bare the antagonising hold anxiety can have on you.

Written "from inside a panic attack," ‘Hostage’ - the song at the core of 'Dark & Beautiful Secrets' - captures the feeling of being trapped inside your own mind.

Strand’s powerful piercing vocal emulates that numbness, while the chorus comes crashing in like an oncoming attack.

Renegade’ and ‘Holy Water’ follow in the same vein.

The intensity, however, is counteracted by the fragility of ‘Atmosphere’.

While not originally intended to be a single, the minimalistic track plays a pivotal role on the album as a whole.

Reflecting the feeling of loneliness so many of us are facing amid the global pandemic, ‘Atmosphere’ deals with Strand’s relationship with the internet, and how alone you can feel even when you are connected with hundreds of people online.

Signature heavy riffs and breakdowns by guitarist Håkan Almbladh and drummer Anton Franzon, respectively, are aplenty.

While with 'Babylon', ‘Mission Control’ and ‘Thrown In The Gutter’, Strand - who penned Ireland’s 2021 entry for 'Eurovision'- exercises his talent for writing huge, infectious pop choruses, all while remaining authentic.

The follow-up to 2018's 'White Flag' is packed with would-be festival ragers, which we will just have to mosh and belt our hearts out to in the kitchen for now.

'Dark & Beautiful Secrets' is out now via Easy Life Records.

FFO: Bring Me The Horizon, Hands Like Houses

Rating: 7/10