Psychedelic rock, Classic rock
Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Wishbone Ash
Going into this one, our expectations were very high. A psychedelic classic rock album from Sweden that appeared to have fallen through the cracks, very little press and short-lived. After the first listen, the album had various components we often feed into such as long song lengths, raw production, tons of fuzz/feedback, and intriguing song titles.
After several additional listens, however, there was clearly something falling flat and our sound lab enthusiasm was not percolating as much as we had anticipated. We were able to pin this down to one distinct problem, the guitar-work. While the bass-work and percussion hold there own providing a rich euphoric feel, the lead guitar-work is mediocre at best. It is rumored that the short-lived trio once opened for Jimmi Hendrix. If this is the case, which we have yet to confirm, it was a brilliant move by Mr. Hendrix to help bolster his performance.
Songs like the 16 minute "Bergankungen" fall woefully flat as the guitar jams stray very little and take absolutely no risk. This becomes very tiring for the listener as we look for something to 'wow' us as is so prevalent in any Hendrix or Band of Gypsy's cut you put on. Guitarist, Kenny Hakansson, attempts some of the techniques performed by the likes of Focus or Cream, but in the end clearly lacks the chops. The best two tracks on the album are the opener "Somebody Keeps Calling My Name" and the live "Being Is More Than Life 2" and intriguing just for the raw nature and pure vinyl feel.
Ultimately, we hate to be so simplistic, but we can only come back to the fact that Hakansson disappoints and is attempting to play music from the gurus clearly beyond his capabilities. There will be moments where you will get caught-up in the swirling euphoric and sometimes evil atmosphere, but in the end your ears will key in on Kenny Hakansson and his lack of ability. One random item of note is that the band did move on to further collaborate with several other artists to become the first swedish rock band to tour in the US (Mecki Mark Men). We are going to have to keep the dial turned just a skooch above middle of the road on this one. - 5/8/2014
Standout Tracks: Somebody Keeps Calling My Name