Paul Lester 

Mikhael Paskalev (No 1,294)

His single Jive Baby looks set to be this summer's Young Folks, but there's more to this Norwegian singer than just one song
  
  

Hometown: Oslo, Norway.

The lineup: Mikhael Paskalev (vocals, guitar).

The background: Mikhael Paskalev is a part-Norwegian, part-Bulgarian singer-songwriter who studied at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and is about to Do A Peter Bjorn and John. This is a technical music industry phrase ascribed to a Scandinavian musician who manages to fluke a shamelessly catchy one-off hit, usually around summer (see also: Annie's Chewing Gum) and Alphabeat's Boyfriend). Often the hit is achieved with the help of a gimmick, such as whistling. In the case of Mikhael Paskalev's single Jive Babe, we're not talking gimmick but gimmicks, namely the "bang bang bang bang" bit, the sudden change in tempo, and the manic a cappella handclap section towards the end complete with "woah-oh"s and a rockin' 50s vibe, all of which give the song the feel of a soundtrack to a holiday romance that ends, not necessarily badly but with both parties decidedly the worse for wear, in a ditch, drunk, in a state of undress if not distress.

This feel is enhanced by the video, which was filmed in and around Bulgaria and directed by Liverpudlian Jack Whitely. If Quentin Tarantino had not just written but directed True Romance using Hipstamatic and set it in eastern Europe, it might have looked like this. Apparently the song was written about Audrey Horne from Twin Peaks and it does indeed have a patina of Lynchian noir when the rebel heroine with the vivid red lipstick gives it plenty of Iron Curtain chic as she drives round the countryside in her vivid red Lada. So far, so genteel (give or take the poor sod in the Viva Zapata! moustache tied up in the boot of the car). Things take a turn for the Tarantino-esque when day turns to night and the girl's hostage, now with gaffer-taped mouth and surrounded by inebriated yokels dancing and grinning creepily round a campfire, is shown being doused in petrol by the pouting babe as she wields a lit cigarette. When she rips off the tape, the hapless victim about to become the new Guy Fawkes is revealed to be none other than … Paskalev!

And we haven't even mentioned the fetching black and white video for his last single I Spy in which he's seen cavorting about in his underpants and crooning into a lamp-stand in a homage to Tom Cruise in Risky Business. Actually, the fact that I Spy had over half a million YouTube hits suggests perhaps the potential-one-hit-wonder judgment is a little askew. Make that two-hit-wonder, or even three-hit-wonder-with-decent-debut-album, because the other tracks we've heard from the latter, due in September, are cute but pack a wallop. A series of collaborations with fellow LIPA alumnus Joe Wills, producer of Stealing Sheep, they were written under the influence of, says Paskalev, "Paul Simon, the Velvet Underground and Elvis". You can hear Paul Simon, definitely. The Velvets and Elvis, not so much. For Susie, read Cecilia. It's derivative, but there is something there, a quality to the performance, that appeals and prevents us from casting aspersions, something we are wont to do on a Friday. It's rootsy and rustic but somehow not alt-country or folk but pop. How does he do that? Buggered if we know. I Remember You is staccato and slow, like a young Paul Simon doing Radiohead's Creep. It just needs a sexy retro video to tease out – or do we mean blow up big-time? – the nuances of the lyric and it could be a third hit, at which point there will be a new music industry phrase: Doing A Paskalev, where a one-time novelty Scandinavian artist acquires kudos and longterm cred.

The buzz: "A fabulous pop song, very, very catchy" – erikvalebrokk.blogspot.co.uk.

The truth: It could be this summer's Young Folks.

Most likely to: Become Norway's first international success since Annie or a-ha (unless Bernhoft beats him to it).

Least likely to: Work for the Bulgarian Tourist Board.

What to buy: Jive Babe is released this Friday by Universal Norway.

File next to: Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel, Peter Bjorn & John, Everly Brothers.

Links: facebook.com.