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The Brimstone Solar Radiation Band — Smorgasbord
(Karisma KAR050, 2009, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2010-07-01

Smorgasbord Cover artApparently this is the third recording by this excellent Norwegian quintet, although they are new to me. Where have I been? Like their countrymen Motorpsycho and The Last James / Haakon Ellingsen, songcraft reigns supreme, full of melody, hooks, and harmonies, operating within the art-rock idiom while incorporating apparent influences from a wide range of sources: Beatles, Scandinavian folk, early seventies rock and pop, and much more. It’s all well absorbed into this intelligent mix that certainly recalls the work of some great bands like 10cc, Stackridge, Split Enz, and many others, while sounding like none of them. These guys are outstanding players too, though rarely showy – remember their focus is always on supporting the compositions and arrangements, and while there are some moments where one player is in the spotlight for a bit, it always gets back to the song. Instrumentation is two guitars, bass, drums and keys (as well as some uncredited sax and flute), with one of the guitarists assuming the lead vocalist duties, and the other members providing harmonies. Unlike the aforementioned British bands, the production tends to be a little more on the edgy side, like Motorpsycho and recent Anekdoten for example, always bristling with energy and excitement. A plenitude of great moments among the twelve tracks herein, this is one that grows on you with each repeat listen.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Brimstone

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