Many Australians would be aware of Mikhael Paskalev, the undie-clad Norwegian singer behind the catchy hit I Spy, which came in at Number 75 on the Triple J Hottest 100 last year. The film clip depicts Paskalev in a total reinvention of Tom Cruise‘s famous undie dance scene in Risky Business, which Paskalev takes to new heights.
2014 is proving to be a great year for Paskalev, who is not only featuring in this year’s WOMADelaide Festival but releases his new album ‘What’s Life Without Losers’ on Mar 7 . Far from being lead away by stardom, Paskalev is quite humble about his success and in this recent interview with Glamadelaide’s Music Editor Darren Hassan, he talks about his influences and beginnings in music. ‘What’s Life Without Losers’ certainly has a strong focus on the songwriting, which Paskalev confesses is his driving force, borne out of nostalgia for older styles of music like the 60’s and 70s, which focused on lyrics and feeling rather than just the beat.
The album is a mixture of styles and tempo’s, with Paul Simon featuring prominently in the influence of some songs. Paskalev seems to be channelling Paul Simon in Susie, as his voice has a similar twang as Simon’s along with that quirky folk nuance evident in many of his songs. He then manages to evoke musical elements of Bob Dylan in Hey Joseph, a song about a friend and the distance between them it would seem. The very cool Jive Babe with its Tarantino style video clip is more upbeat, and has more of a rock feel to it whilst Brother and Come On are slower, more mellow ballads. It must be mentioned though, that whilst clearly influenced by other artists , Mikhael Paskalev has his own distinctive sound and is a musical genius in his own right.
Paskalev has done well with this album, and of course I Spy is the catchiest tune on the album and something that can be played over and over because it’s so bright and uplifting. If you love your gypsy rock, then ‘What’s Life Without Losers’ is just the ticket for dancing around in your tidy whiteys with a nice bottle of red!
Oh, and be sure to catch Mikhael Paskalev at WOMADelaide on March 8!
Reviewed by Darren Hassan
What’s Life Without Losers is released on March 7th via Dew Process.