Monday, April 25, 2011

The Jessica Fletchers - Less Sophistication - 2005

The Jessica Fletchers' free-spirited, effervescent approach to indie pop, steeped in the influence of psychedelic and bubblegum pop groups of the 1960s (the Monkees, the Association), nods to the Bicycles, Tullycraft, and the Apples in Stereo. Originally comprised of Bjorn Rune Lie, Vegard Syrstad, Andreas Mastrup, Thomas Innstø , and Rune Somdal, the group formed in a suburb of Oslo, Norway, in 1997, naming themselves after the crime-fighting mystery writer, played by Angela Lansbury, central to the hit television series Murder, She Wrote. The band self-released its debut album, I Can Shoot You from Here, one year later; the album subsequently caught the attention of the folks at Perfect Pop Records, who signed the band before the year was out. The Jessica Fletchers' first EP on that label, Sorry About the Noise!, came out in 2000; drummer Lie amicably split with the group after the disc was released, and was replaced by Jan Henning Sørensen. The Jessica Fletchers' profile was given a healthy boost later that year when they competed in and won Zoom, a Norwegian "battle of the bands"-style contest; the group toured Norway (which was part of their Zoom prize winnings) in the months that followed, during which time "Sorry About the Noise" became a fairly popular song on Norwegian radio.

Their next EP, (Come On) It's Only Nine (funded, at least partially, by the band's Zoom winnings), came out in 2002; Vegard Syrstad left the group that summer and keyboardist Ivar ("Ravi") Chr. Johansen was brought into the fold. The group's debut full-length, What Happened to The?, was released the following year, and the band was signed to the New York-based label Rainbow Quartz soon after. Johansen left the group around this time, citing a desire to work on a solo hip-hop project, prompting Innstø to bring his brother Mats into the band. The Jessica Fletchers toured heavily over the next year, embarking on their first major European tour and making an appearance at the 2004 SXSW festival. Their third full-length, Less Sophistication, was released in Norway that fall. Another full-length album, You Spider, came out in 2007. -AMG


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