Nice Beaver - On Dry Land

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Cyclops
Catalog Number: CYCL 122
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:54:00

Things are looking up in Holland. Not only are "older" bands such as Kayak, Supersister and Plackband starting a "second" life; after the demise of the SI label several years ago and the lack of interest in names such as Wings Of Steel, For Absent Friends, Egdon Heath, and Cliffhanger, some new and promissing bands have surfaced. One of them is Nice Beaver whom with On Dry Land have delivered a mature, well-produced and nicely balanced debut album. The sounds of heavy traffic and drilling machines in the beginning of "Culley On Bleeker Street" make me think of the sleeve for Supertramp's Crisis? What Crisis? album. However once the main melody kicks off, resemblances with Camel are high on the cards. Especially the guitar sound of Hans Gerritse is reminiscent of Andy Latimer.

What strikes me from the beginning of this album is the nice sound of the drums next to the fact that all four members of the band also sing, which results in some nice harmonies as we can witness during "Oversight." Another important point in the music of Nice Beaver is the strong voice of keyboard player Erik Groeneweg, who in a song like "Wintersong," sounds a lot like A-Ha frontman Morten Harket! Towards the end, the arrangement sounds really strong and it would have been fantastic if the band could have used a real orchestra for this section, even if the entire structure of the song is rather repetitive. "Hope You Don't Mind" not only contains some great finds production wise, the rhythm in the second part of the song makes sure this song is destined to become a live favourite. The same can be said of the stompin' intro for "Like This." before the atmosphere switches towards a soft reggae rhythm, which then changes a final time into a rousing rhythm. The most melodic tune sits right at the very end. "We Are The Sun" contains a nice melody on synth accompanied by heavy guitars creating yet another musical contrast. After several spins I still don't understand what the Turkish wedding is doing right at the very end though.

Nice Beaver delivers not too complex material with a decent amount of accessible rhythms and nice melodies so it'll please prog lovers and AOR fans alike. For a debut, On Dry Land certainly is a remarkable feature for which I'd like to give the guys the thumbs up for the rest of their career.

First released in 2001 by the band; picked up and reissued by Cyclops

Culley On Bleeker Street (7:12) / Oversight (6:14) / Wintersong (8:16) / Hope You Don:t Mind (9:01) / Like This (6:14) / Where The River Runs (7:53) / We Are The Sun (6:57)

Ferry Zonneveld - drums, percussion, backing vocals
Peter Stel - bass, fretless bass, backing vocals
Erik Groeneweg - lead vocals, keyboards, percussion
Hans Gerritse - acoustic and electric guitars, lead and backing vocals

Nice Beaver (demo) (1999)
On Dry Land (2001/2002)
Oregon (2004)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin NL

Added: September 29th 2002
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 591
Language: english


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