Wobbler - Hinterland

Year of Release: 2005
Label: The Laser's Edge
Catalog Number: LE1041
Format: CD
Total Time: 56:51:00

What do you have to say about a band that, without a recording contract, put two long demos on their website, free for everyone to download? Was it a na?ve thing to do or was it exactly this generosity that landed the band a slot at the prestigious NEARfest even before they had an album out? Going back in time ?nglag?rd were the kind of band mainly the Americans loved every second from. A similar fondness was found in White Willow, so it was like the combination of analogue seventies prog approach combined with folky tones that appealed to a great number of music lovers. Based around the nucleus of current White Willow keyboard player Lars Fredrik Froislie, Wobbler delivers an exact amount of melancholy all neatly wrapped in sheets of mellotron divinity. Tony Johanessen?s almost whispering voice is ideal for this kind of music as a more "in your face" vocal style wouldn't do the music any justice. You only have to take the booklet in your hands and have a look at the detailed description of the band's instruments to rightly guess the band's philosophy and musical style.

The album opens with the very short instrumental "Serenade For 1652," which is kind of a mini symphony for mellotron. Then it's all systems go for the title track and longest epic on the album. Here at times you get acoustic guitar and flute delivering themes that could be the perfect soundtrack for medieval scenes. Some of the darker elements remind me of Anekdoten, the Hammond C3 goes as far back as the early days of The Nice whilst the Moog most definitely embodies the work of Rick Wakeman. Halfway through the song the guitar gets ever so close to Steve Hackett during the vintage Genesis days. The emphasis lays on softer, acoustic passages, which have a soothing effect, all neatly produced by White Willow leader Jacob Holm-Lupo, who obviously knows all the ropes from the experience with his own band. Towards the end of the song, the rhythm puts a little more spice into the whole whilst there are quick flashes of Patrick Moraz, the Nice and Moody Blues vs Anekdoten mellotron madness. In "Rubato Industry," keeping afloat amidst suffocating rivers of tron are the incredible sound of the Rickenbacker and more Wakeman-like Moog solos which stick to your mind immediately. The solitary flute that follows introduces glimpses of Camel, of Gryphon, whilst the song evolves towards King Crimson meets Gentle Giant, taking a flash of Canterbury scene weirdness in its grasp along the way.

The album closes with the gentle, instrumental "Clair Obscur" in which mellotron opens up for classical piano and flute. Pastoral imagery alternates with more complex time signatures and occasional Steve Howe-like guitar interventions .From intimate parts to a musical version of hurricane Katrina and back again: it's all there inside one single track called "Clair Obscur." You couldn?t think of a better title for these contrasts. Looking at the length of the album, it's a pity the website's mp3s are not included as extras here (yet merely as mp3 files). However a big thumbs up for the splendid artwork by Michael Bennett. If ever the artwork graces some T-shirts, these will be stunning. Hinterland is exactly the kind of album symphonic rock purists are hoping for. If you look at the way these guys have reproduced the vintage feel of prog of the seventies you most certainly must give these guys the thumbs up. Where compositions is concerned, however, I guess Wobbler will have to also include a couple of more compact songs in which the challenge will be to guide the different talents into one direction and bundle it by means of a strong melody. As a fan of the more symphonic approach of progressive rock I do hear elements from all the big names of the seventies whilst also adding some Italian influences. That's good as you should honnor your big examples but you should also try and deliver your own statement as well which is something Hinterland has far too little of.

Serenade For 1652 (0:42) / Hinterland (27:47) / Rubato Industry (12:45) / Clair Obscur (15:38)

Lars Fredrik Froislie - Hammond C3 with Leslie, Mini-Moog, Mellotron, Petrof grand piano, reed organ, glockenspiel, Wurlitzer, Fender Rhodes, Hohner clavinet, harpsichord, ARP pro soloist, ARP axxe, Solina string ensemble, stylophone
Martin Nordrum Kneppen - drums, percussion
Kristian Karl Hultgren - bass, saxophones
Morten Andreas Eriksen - electric and acoustic guitars
Tony Johannessen - vocals

Hinterland (2005)

Genre: Symphonic Prog

Origin NO

Added: September 19th 2005
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.wobblermusic.com
Hits: 1104
Language: english


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