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Norwegian lady Hedvig Mollestad and her trio’s debut album ‘Shoot’ was a favourite of mine from last year, as was the El Doom & The Born Electric album she contributed to, but she seems to divide opinions here in the office. I’m getting bombarded with complaints as I try to review this. If there’s one thing we can never agree on, it’s the whacked out Norwegian jazz-prog weirdness that comes out on Rune Grammofon. I can’t get enough of it myself, which mystifies Phil and Li’l Biz no end as this self-indulgent skronk-jazz stuff always makes them want to give up on music altogether.
It’s fair to say that this stuff is a bit of an acquired taste. This trio have quite a skeletal sound, with the drums and bass providing a variety of grooves, from smooth lounge stylings to Melvins-ish rock to lively Elephant9-style progressive jazz. Hedvig’s guitar moves are ever-present but her style is quite understated, gliding around the rhythms with jazzy melodic shapes and jagged riffing rather than frenzied fret-twiddling, although there is the occasional nimble-fingered freakout. Not convinced this is quite as strong as their debut, with a thinner, more ‘70s-style production and less memorable riffs, but it’s still got some rockin’ moments in amongst the jazz-rock meanderings. Basically if Norsk jazz-prog is your cup of tea you’ll like this, but if you’re a sceptic like Phil and Li’l Biz it’ll probably just make you confused and angry.
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