Double LP £17.49 RLP3122
Debut 2LP of all-out psych prog featuring Elephant 9 folks on Rune Grammofon.
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CD £12.49 RCD2122
Debut CD of all-out psych prog featuring Elephant 9 folks on Rune Grammofon.
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For some reason Phil doesn't often get us to review records on Rune Grammofon if Jim O'Rourke's not on them, which seems like a missed opportunity to me because their output, while not always being a comfortable listen, has really established a scene of accomplished and experimental musicians easily the equal of all that Constellation lot in Montreal, in this reviewer's humble opinion. This isn't strictly one of this week's releases but last week is close enough if you ask me and the big guy's off so I'm taking the liberty of reviewing it anyway because it's been blowing my mind a little bit this week. Also, if you're not already familiar with the whole Norwegian psych/jazz/prog/experimental scene this is a good place to start because so many powerhouse names are involved (albeit ones you've not heard before). I mean, we've got Hedvig Mollestad (whose recent Hedvig Mollestad Trio album 'Shoot!' is packed with blistering jams, by the way) busting her insane precision jazz rock chops all over the place, and that's before we get started on the other three lead guitarists! Bass and keys? How about the Elephant9 lads, with a little help from Mikael Lindquist? And to say that Havard Takle Ohr is a capable drummer is an understatement. Ole Petter 'El Doom' Andreassen is at the helm, though, writing the songs, singing, playing guitar, putting the band together and generally doing everything. He's been involved in the Norwegian scene for a while, most notably as guitarist in the Cumshots, but this is his first album in total control. And what a statement it is! This is nearly an hour of super-slick and entirely unhip prog rock that makes no apologies for being all badass and complicated and in your face with its walls of searing guitar and Hammond. The cheese factor in places might initially intimidate people but the band El Doom has put together here are whip-tight and push through the entire record which such a crunching virtuosic momentum that's really powerful. His voice sounds a bit like Mike Patton's so the epic bits really soar, but the jazz and prog elements are ever-present. There's parts that are a bit Mars Volta-esque, too...Ohr's drumming really does recall Jon Theodore's in places and they do rock that epic stadium sound without apology. In all honesty I haven't heard a straight-up prog record I've enjoyed this much in years. An awesome prog record in 2012...whatever next? (Another one, probably...we're now taking preorders for Motorpsycho and Stale Storlokken's insane new double concept album, the entire office is pretty much sick to death of me loudly and constantly wondering when my copy will turn up.)
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