The Cola Freaks, a neu-wave punk ensemble coming out of Aarhus, Denmark, occasionally use English-language titles for their songs—“Uppers and Downers,” the first track on the band’s recently issued, self-titled full-length being an example. Even this track, though, apart from its chorus, uses Danish instead of positioning the Freaks as New World entrepreneurs.
Let’s ignore our collective inability to understand what’s going on over the course of the ensemble’s various singles and this latest long-player. Instead, the quick-step drumming and trebly guitar should wash over listeners while we conjure up some potential setting for these tunes to be birthed in the first place. “Kniven,” from the band’s album, winds up moving towards territory previously unexplored over those one-off recordings dating back four or five years. The sound here isn’t fuller, but better realized. With all the clanging chords bouncing back and forth between couplets, it’d be relatively easy to miss how much open space is created here. By dint of counting a ridiculously well-rehearsed rhythm section, Cola Freaks guitarist Morten Bjerggaard has the melodic leeway to either mimic a drummer’s high hat with down-stroked strumming, or simply allow one of those notes to hang on for a while before disintegrating. If nothing else, Jay Reatard, prior to croaking of course, tapped these guys to back him up for a while. That seems like a decent endorsement. (Dave Cantor)
May 12 at the Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western, (773)276-3600. 9:30pm. $8.