ROUND 2 RECORDS 3rd March 2017
Coming from the same axis as late sixties Lee Hazlewood, this lightly-accented groovy MOR visits pastures psychedelic while maintaining a swinging pop sensibility, like maybe early solo Scott Walker. The Lee Hazlewood connection isn’t as arbitrary as it seems, Lee having made his home in Sweden in the seventies. Clearly there was some seriously psychedelic undercurrents in Norway in the late sixties.
Electric guitar funks and noodles, wigouts happen, and Hammond organ pumps up the temperature, yet other times is a gently swinging big band. Norway was, it seems, a cool place to be. And a crazy place we open on a song about having your love stolen by aliens. Ain’t No Use has much guitar wrestling, an electrifying bass and ultimately reaches the gravity of a dark star and flails around, collapsing rather than stopping, in a shower of sparks. Immediately after is the smooth adult dance hall pop of Driftin’.
Originally released in 1967, fifty years on will see a receptive audience for it, though I’d have welcomed it at any time in the intervening years (or at least the ones I’ve been an adult for…). We have Terje Rypdal to thanks for the guitar treats – he was to go on to jazz music with the likes of Jan Garbarek. We love him, of course, for starting out in Shadows-influenced guitar band, The Vanguards.
Side two opens on the Percy Sledge-ish sweet soul of I’m Counting on You, filtered through the impassioned electric guitar of Rypdal. Night of The Lonely Organist and His Mysterious Pals is a jazzy instrumental on an organ with frequent guitar solos – sort of Dr Lonnie Smith meets John McLaughlin. It is succeeded by a Scott Walker-ish easy listening number and then the sort of thing they let Ringo sing in The Beatles, but transposed into lounge-core meets hillbilly. Hey Jimi is a shout out to Mr Hendrix, plodding along bluesy like Hey Joe but in a goth-horror vein. It’s all a bit mind-muddling and I defy any open-eared listener not to grin their way through this album, partly at the way it is stuck in its own time capsule but mostly because it is a great pop album, full of strong tunes, images and playing.
Your enjoyment of this album will be enhanced by the use of a lava lamp.