Fruitcake - One More Slice

Year of Release: 1997
Label: Cyclops
Catalog Number: CYCL 057
Format: CD
Total Time: 57:48:00

Fruitcake are one of the leading progressive rock bands from Norway. One More Slice is the band's fourth album, and their third on Cyclops following the success of How To Make It (1995) and Room For Surprise (1996). The band consists of Pal Sovik on vocals and drums, Helge Skaarseth on keyboards and mandolin, Olav Nygard on bass, and newcomer Robert Hauge on guitars and backing vocals. The music is composed by Fruitcake and Tore Bo with Pal providing all the lyrics. And the front cover is a definite work of art up their with the best that Roger Dean or Rodney Matthews could produce.

"The Joke" is a strange choice for an album opener. It has a haunting feel to it. From the start, Robert's guitar work is very much in evidence, and this gives Helge the opportunity to produce a much darker keyboard sound to anything I have heard from the band. "Spirit Of This Day" shows another facet of Fruitcake. Subtle acoustic guitars are overlaid with Pal's vocals to give an almost folky feel to it. there is certainly some ancient Norse skaldic blood running through these modern day Vikings. As the song develops the familiar Fruitcake keyboard sound emerges, although there is a lot more interplay between guitars and keyboards. It is a refreshing development, and one which shows the band are continually evolving their sound.

"Hell's Kitchen" is another dark song. it opens as a rather rocky instrumental with the vocals not arriving for three minutes. The vocals are short and, well, sour; with the dark ambience remaining throughout. This is quite a complex composition which is almost disturbing to listen to at times. And here is me thinking of Fruitcake as a happy, jolly little prog band! "Between Reality And Dream" continues the threatening ambience. Olav's bass is very prominent throughout and is overlaid with an incongruous mixture of jolly synths and threatening keyboards. The guitars take a more secondary role, although they have the opportunity to let rip on occasion. The result is a track which grabs you, and really makes you listen!

The title track is the best of the lot. "Have A Slice" opens with an high-octane instrumental with the whole band rocking along, before changing into a curious Fruitcakian mixture of heavy guitar riffs and dinky keyboards. Pal's voice is at its best here, fairly growling out the lyrics at times. And the chorus is so highly contagious that "Health & Safety" almost banned the track! This was the first track to grab me on the album - first listen! And it is as fresh now as it was then - a catchy track that keeps the interest; that makes it one good song. "Somewhat Late For Supper" is the piece de resistance of the album - a brilliant eight minute instrumental straight from the top drawer. The whole band combine to create a masterful composition which should rate up their with the tracks of the year. The development of the various themes through the track is excellent, and the result is a track which almost defines what progressive rock is.

"Final Signals" will please the die-hard Fruitcake fans. It continues the sound the guys have been honing over the albums. The keyboards are used more to punctuate the lyrics, and the bass thumps along underneath a very catchy melody line. Not sure what the lyrics are about: "Someone let the cat right out, and now its running loose in my world of pain" - but I have the same problem with our cat, too... "Just Another Weird Vector" has more extended instrumental sections, almost different songs which flow into each other. In saying that there is a perceptible increase in tension as the track develops. With the final lyrical section acting as a plateau before the band hammer out the triumphant last chords; leaving the listener reeling in the silence that follows.

This albums shows a definite change in the band's sound. Whereas previous albums have been full of great little songs, One More Slice shows a musical development. Some of this comes from the inclusion of Robert's guitars - and I assume his input into the song writing. The band has a definite harder edge to the sound, and there is a scary dark and haunting feel which was never there before. Also the songs are a lot longer. Apart from "Spirit" which clocks at just over five minutes, the rest are around the seven to eight minute mark. This seems to have allowed the guys more opportunity to develop ideas. The result is an album with eight classy compositions; although somehow the whole thing still retains the freshness of the earlier Fruitcake sound. I don't think this will disappoint Fruitcake fans, and I think it will attract many more to the Fruitcake banner. I was looking forward to this album coming out - and I have not been disappointed.

This review courtesy Frank Blades and Alternate View, an ezine now disappeared sadly (as of August 2005) -ed.

The Joke (8:05) / Spirit of This Day (5:13) / Hell's Kitchen (7:50) / Between Reality and Dream (6:49) / Have A Slice (6:25) / Somewhat Late for Supper (7:59) / Final Signals (7:57) / Just Another Weird Vector (7:11)

Pål Søvik - vocals and drums
Helge Skaarseth - keyboards and mandolin
Olav Nygard - bass
Robert Hauge - guitars and backing vocals

How To Make It (1994)
Room For Surprise (1996)
One More Slice (1997)
Power Structure (1999)
A Battle A Day (2000)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin NO

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Frank Blades

Hits: 2085
Language: english


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