It is easy to see where Permafrost comes from sonically, but why not, having formed in 1982 in Molde, Norway, it is a place that they also come from chronologically. Taking their name from a Magazine track and wielding an unashamedly post-punk sound, they blend strident beats and pulsing, resonant basslines with choppy, razor-wire guitars and delicate synth washes. A modern take on a familiar sound, it is like meeting an old friend and realising that they have aged and move with the times but are still that person you knew way back when. Even the vocal delivery speaks of earlier times, but, as is always the case in the cyclical world of music, an argument can be made for the band being ahead of the curve rather than look back to past glories.
And talking of past glories, Restore Us, opens up a wonderful conversation, one about a slow decline of the world into one drive ever more by consumerism, one that would reach a pinnacle with a failed salesman becoming leader of the free world. It raises the question of nostalgia and of “rose-tinted spectacles,” were the good times all that good, is the past a place that we really want to return to? Isn’t it better to look to the future than to dwell on the past? (And I write this watching my own country succumb to the backwards-looking, reductive and jingoistic Brexit policy try to justify just such a regressive idea to 60 million people.)
But Restore Us is less the rabble-rousing anthem that is often the result of politics and music finding common ground and more a quiet word in your ear. And the message is clear, we have lost something along the way, we have lost a sense of who we are, we have lost part of the very thing that makes us human and the time has come to do something about it. The time has come to Restore Us.