With a sunbleached aesthetic and a bouncy pop sound and infectious call and response duetting, Hello Hello has the potential to give Mango Blitz a big daft summer hit. The band are based in Budapest and have been making fun pop records since 2015. Over the summer of 2017 they’re finalising an album which, according to their website and Google Translate ‘can be said to favour the dancers’. Sounds good to me.
Also, and I am just saying this, a lot of their very catchy and danceable songs come in at the three minute mark. Maybe they should think of giving A Dal a go next year?
Mango Blitz are on Facebook
Mango Blitz have a website
At the time that I wrote my big Eurovision Preview Post, the received wisdom was that including any element of rap, especially native language rap in your Eurovision song was a route to sure non-qualification. Instead, I’m delighted that Joci, Alexandra and Emeses not only comfortably qualified (2nd in the semi!), but finished 8th in the Eurovision Grand Final.
It’s pretty obvious what appealed to me about Origo – the overall sound is cool, but Joci practically vibrates with tension as he pours out the pain of a lifetime of being on the receiving end of anti-Roma prejudice, so the song is in a constant state of edgy energy. Alexandra’s improvised dance tells us the parts of the story that we miss because we don’t understand Hungarian. She loves him, it’s magical, it’s overpowering it’s desperate, it’s agony. Emeses stands over on the satellite stage, playing the insistent violin riff and generally working the crowd into a frenzy. I spoke to Emeses just before the Grand Final – she was so excited to be a part of the performance, and was explaining that she never intended to go so crazy with the crowd around the satellite stage, but that the enthusiasm from the fans at her feet swept her away.
I think the strength of support for Hungary – they received televote points from 33 out of 42 countries and came 8th overall – is additional evidence for my theory that the best performing Eurovision songs no longer necessarily have to sound like ‘Eurovision songs’ and that the public are musically informed and open-minded enough to accept great songs and strong performances in any genre, especially when they tell such a strong story of love and pain.
There’s something very Sunday afternoon about the Mayberian Sanskülotts sound. It’s quite 90s, a little bit shoegazey, a little bit Cocteau twinsy, but with the melancholic, melodic pop edge that might mislead you into thinking you’re listening to something out of a Swedish producer’s Melfest folder.
I’ve picked Nightbus because it builds from a cracking drum beat, via jangly guitars and a synth that sounds like the tripods from Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds to a soaring chorus. You should also definitely check out the harmonies on their song Torture.
Mayberian Sanskülotts are on Bandcamp
Mayberian Sanskülotts are on Facebook
I’m not sure if A Dal lets you submit songs that have already been released, but there’s something so Modern Midtempo Eurovision about Hungarian superstar Zséda’s latest single. Also it’s exactly 3 minutes long and doesn’t seem to be presaging an album. Hmmm. I wonder… surely not.
Zséda is an established, award winning presence on the Hungarian music scene – she’s even got a Christmas album in her back catalogue.
Zséda has a website
BLIMEY! Do you fancy some very intense Hungarian folk music? Meszecsinka have you covered.
I’ve embedded the whole album but I’m presenting to you the opening track Nehéz. Over the course of 5 minutes and 45 seconds, the song grows from a plaintive wail into an insistent, rocking drone, builds to a climax which sounds like a combination of Robert Plant’s yelps in Whole Lotta Love and Halle Berry accepting her Oscar. And then it gets more intense from there.
Meszecsinka are a really interesting band, who’ve been mixing up all manner of music traditions since 2009. The voice you hear is the sensational Annamari, who sings in seven languages and has such an incredible range of vocal textures and techniques. I would love to see this band live, and according to their website if I was in Sicily right now I could.
Meszecsinka have a website
Meszecsinka are on Bandcamp
Meszecsinka are on Soundcloud
We’ve not had a lot of rockabilly around. Maybe I’ll have to have a special rockabilly week later on in the year? Until then, enjoy Hungary’s The Silver Shine and Belgium’s Adios Pantalones. Adios Pantalones? Yes, Adios Pantalones.
Anyhow – The Silver Shine [Female fronted rockabilly with nice, g]
Rockabilly Riot – Adios Pantalones [A bit of the old psychobilly for you. You should know what to expect]
We’re nearly there! Keep going!
Time for a bit of mind-altering stuff from Hungary and Portugal. The band from Hungary are iamyank, and this is the lead single off an album that I’ll be banging on about for ages. It’s not quite Mick Pedaja but it’ll do. From Portugal we have some decidedly old-fashioned psychedelia from The Lemon Lovers, which I enjoy and hope you do too.
Silence – iamyank [A gorgeous slice of galactic ambient techno stuff]
Cosmic Lovers – The Lemon Lovers [Dreamy psychedelia]
Iceland’s bold men with their chiselled good looks and incredible stamina take on the Hungarians. I’m afraid I can’t be impartial here. Áfram Ísland!
Vök are serious looking bunch of coves, and their music is equally serious. It’s got a sort of pleasant melancholy and on the song Waiting in particular, it sort of sounds like the Icelandic landscape looks. Gorgeous.
ÍV took one of her English language songs to the final of A Dal in 2015, but this song Mindig Varsz is a slightly more grown up and sober production. It’s got a slight modern Eurovision feel to it, and it’s super listenable.
Waiting – Vök [Weightlessly perfect Nordic noir electro ballad]
Mindig vársz – ÍV [Breathy, warm mellow electro]
I am beside myself with joy, as I bring to you two really very good songs from Austria and Hungary. Not only are these songs great, but they’re both taking the mickey out of the kind of toxic masculinity that ruins our lovely world. Austria’s alternative sports anthem Heavy Lipstick comes from the very smashing Johann Sebastian Bass. Hungary’s Belmondo bring their song I Am The Ultimate Leader to the party. The party thanks them.
Heavy Lipstick – Johann Sebastian Bass [Anthemic electropop that will enter your soul and gently buff it with rouge]
The Ultimate Leader – Belmondo [Skeletal 90’s house with a message. And a rap]