For much of their career, the Norwegian indie pop ensemble the Loch Ness Mouse made the kind of jangly, easygoing, Beach Boys-influenced indie pop that brought to mind California Snow Story, Sambassadeur, and Nobody & the Mystic Chords of Memory. Brothers Jörn and Ole Johannes Åleskjaer teamed up to form the band in 1992; over the next ten years, the band's lineup would include the likes of drummer Emil Nikolaisen, drummer Hilma Nikolaisen (Emil's little sister and a member of Umbrella), bassist Morten Holmqvist, and keyboardist Helga Trömborg (who incidentally grew up in the same small town as the Åleskjaer brothers). Their debut full-length album, Flair for Darjeeling, was released on Norway's Perfect Pop Records seven years later. The Loch Ness Mouse's profile was given a healthy boost with the release of their sophomore album, 2002's Key West, which was licensed for release in the States on the Athens, GA-based label Happy Happy Birthday to Me. Key West enjoyed a warm reception among indie music critics, and went on to be nominated for an Alarm Prize (Album of the Year) in Norway. Umbrella member Henriette Akerholdt was brought into the fold as the Loch Ness Mouse's new drummer in 2003, with Nikolaisen switching over to the bass. The band released an EP that year, Friends & Fenders; the disc was recorded with the help of the Ladybug Transistor's Gary Olson.
It would be six years before the Loch Ness Mouse would release another full-length album. By the time they reemerged in 2009 with New Graffiti (released on Forward Records), they were hardly recognizable. Taking their cue from artists like Erykah Badu and the Roots, the Loch Ness Mouse transformed their formerly jangly, C-86-ish sound into a bouncy, brassy, mash-up of indie pop and R&B. The album featured numerous guest appearances, including a vocal cameo by Stella Mwangi, who performed on the album's title track. ~ Margaret Reges