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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Tiebreaker

Tiebreaker EP

Review by Gary Hill

This outfit from Norway have produced a nearly perfect set of tunes. In fact, the only real problem is that more would have certainly been appreciated. It seems that certain parts of the world might be somehow time-locked. Sweden is one such place because a lot of the music that comes from there feels like it could have been created in the 1970s. If this disc is any example, perhaps Norway is also caught in a musical time-warp. Whatever it is, though, these guys just rock. There’s nothing here with which to find fault.

Homer Simpson once said that rock music achieved perfection in 1974. This band might well live by that credo. Certainly there sound would have been huge if it had been released then. They have influences that seem rooted in the types of music created by many of the greats of that era. That time period in music seems to resonate with a lot of people. For that reason, this should do well, if people get to hear it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Walking in Circles

As the disc opens there’s a heavy sort of anticipation that brings it into being. That texture brought about through feedback and distortion lead one thinking that the song, “Walking in Circles” might be about to fire out into some seriously heavy metal. As the bass takes it, though, it feels more like a retro hard rock tune. The keyboards bring that old school element even further into being. It feels a lot like something Deep Purple might have done. The vocals and changes develop it into a great classic rock jam. It’s an exceptionally retro sounding tune that still has some modern flavor in the bluesy sounds. There’s also some particularly tasty guitar soloing on hand later. They drop it to a mellower movement later that’s almost progressive rock in nature. In fact, in that later section, something like Vanilla Fudge wouldn’t be entirely out of the question in terms of reference points. Still it works back out to the more Deep Purple like jamming beyond that point. This is a great tune and a great way to start the set in style.

Coins for the Ferryman
The riff that opens “Coins for the Ferryman” calls to mind “Rock Candy” by Montrose a bit. They drop it down, though, to a dramatic section that’s quite a bit like mellower heavy metal. It feels a bit more modern, perhaps like something from Alice in Chains. They bring it back up into a harder edged jam that combines that modern element with more of those Deep Purple leanings. They work through various sections as they continue, then there’s a smoking hot instrumental movement that has an almost stoner rock feel. The guitar solo on it is classic and the fuzz bass just plain rocks. From there, though, we get more of that Deep Purple kind of sound again, but with an almost Black Sabbath kind of edge to it.
Turn This Ride Around
There’s more of a powered up blues rock sound to “Turn This Ride Around.” It’s almost like a combination of Blackfoot with Deep Purple and Pat Travers perhaps. It’s less dynamic than the openers, but still rocks out just as well. The keyboards are still present, but less prominent, except for a great solo mid-track.
Last March
This is another that’s a little more straight forward in terms of the song progression, but still has some changes. It’s the mellowest section of the set, featuring a rock ballad approach for the bulk of the tune, but it does power up for another retro textured jam later in the piece. It’s really got some exceptionally potent vocal work in it and has moments where it crosses near to progressive rock. Still, the fast paced jam that ends it feels a lot like Uriah Heep.
 
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