Now, I love surprises …. adore them. Even better again, I love hitting upon musical surprises that not only make me smile, but send a rush of sonic adrenalin through my veins. Anyone who follows this blog, knows that when I hit upon something that resonates, TRULY resonates, I just have to write about it.
Guess what folks, today’s the day … IT HAS HAPPENED … Ta-Dah!
I was reminded by a post on FB that Norwegian band, Odd Loves to Dance, has an EP, ‘Demon Wizard’, out today. So, having a million things to do, but being the mistress of prevarication, I dipped into SoundCloud, hit play on the lead track, ‘Out of Minds’, and released four minutes of serotonin inducing indie bliss into what had been up to then, dullsville.
I don’t know who does what in this band, in fact, I know absolutely nothing about them except that Gold Celeste (The Wonder of Love) “not the drummer” drummer, Petter Haugen Andersen is a member, and if this incarnation sees him returning to his instrumental roots then it should see him playing bass guitar, or electric guitar at the very least. (See photo for clues).
According to their FB page, the other two members of the Odd team are Axel Larsson and Hallvard Gaardløs (extensive research has show that the he be the dude in the wizard’s hat in above promo photo!!) Further photographic evidence seems to reveal Gaardløs as lead vocalist with Larsson at the percussive helm.
Ok – PS – Since the original publication of this review, Petter (Haugen Andersen has confirmed some finer details :-
“Axel (Larsson – Drums) sings the first track – ‘Out of Minds’, Hallvard (Gaardløs – Bass) also has vocal duties, while PHA (Guitar) takes on the vocal mantle on ‘Nothing to Say’. The EP was also mixed (as well as co-produced) by Simen (from Gold Celeste) in his then studio (Greener) in Trondheim.”
Right, now that we have the personnel sorted and duties assigned, down to business!
A bit of poking around and I can see that the afore-mentioned lead track, ‘Out of Minds’ was released as a single last September. Soundwise, it’s musical manna from heaven. A bit Dråpe, (especially in the RS department) with its clever meandering jazz style bass and crack shot percussion, this is a pacy, animated track intermixed with interludes of clear focus riffs here and hazy effusive guitar there. Gaardløs uses his voice well to convey nuance and emotion while his mellow timbre adds to already honeyed melody lines. This is a cracker of an opener and was a wise choice for lead single.
‘Tango’ is an absolutely gorgeous song in which everything is – well, perfect. The bass playing is exceptionally good and the spot on drumming packs just enough punch without overpowering a very restrained vocal. The track is dotted with (here we go!) “twinkling synths” and some truly lovely guitar and keys sequences. The instrumental perfectly conveys the lyrical imagery – dreaminess, wistfulness, escape, colour, nature, gloom (if I’m wrong, sorry, but I’m on my own here guys!).
“Here I am with sand under my heels, Sinking slowly into the land my ego is on its knees
Now I am dead, and you’re dancing through the graveyard, I’d crawl out and dance with you, you know I would if I could”
‘Cinnamon’ is a really interesting slice of “spice”. Playing bumper cars with tempo, it races from one pace then brakes to another and then u-turns back again. A quirky, short lived affair, it’s got a great lyric, and one hell of a rabid guitar sequence, topped and tailed by a lovely line in “louche”. Too short – want more!
Penultimate track, ‘Melvin’ is an edgy 60s affair underpinned by the best basslines and drumming on the EP . Referencing some serious jazz blues, the RS gives this track a serious amount of cool, while expertly performed guitar solos are VERY 70s a la Jeff Beck. One mischievously sexy tune this. But, if you stripped everything else away and left me with just that cheeky RS sketch, I’d happily listen to it for hours! That’s how good it is. Kudos guys.
The EP closes with ‘Nothing to Say’ and we’re back in “redolent of” territory again. The vocal is very Ketil Myhre (always a good thing) while the instrumental is veering towards a Gold Celeste vibe, but given the close interconnections between so many of these bands and their members, it comes as no surprise that they would bring traces of sound and style across from one to the other, whether deliberately or subconsciously.
The highlight of this track has to be the guitar sequence at 3.14+ – I don’t usually use the word beautiful when describing guitar, but that is exactly what this is. Beautiful honeyed hypnotic guitar washed over with some lovely dreamy harmonies. Then, just when you think it can’t get any better, in jumps Jimmy Page with some seriously sweet 70s rocking to close out the track. This is one groovy tune and the perfect way to bring the EP to a close.
And that folks is about all I can tell you about Odd Love to Dance and ‘Demon Wizard’. I have no idea what the release plans for this EP are – but if I were “Mr Record Company”, I’d be looking to release ‘Tango’ as the next single! Just sayin’.
Odd Loves to Dance aren’t playing Trondheim – but I wish they were! Note to organising committee … please ensure these guys are included in the 2017 TC line up.
Five-Track EP, ‘Demon Wizard’ is out now in digital format via NO FOREVERS , available through various sources, links below, and you can listen to the lead track, ‘Out of Minds’ here. Enjoy x