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(66:50; Bad Elephant Music)
It has been quite a while since I last heard anything by this Swedish band, so long ago that they are in Volume 1 of my books containing my reviews from 1991-2006, when I reviewed their second album ĎStoriesí and raved over it. This is their fifth release, as one may have guessed, and in the last 13 years there has just been the one line-up change with drummer Erik Hammarstrom replacing Daniel Kase. The rest of the line-up is still Linus Kase (piano, electric grand, synthesizers, saxophones, vocals), Per Hallman (organ, Mellotron, clavinet, synthesizers, vocals), Kristofer Eng Radjabi (bass, Taurus, Theremin, vocals, synths) and Johan Oijen (guitars). Yes, you read that right, two keyboard players with the welcome use of not only piano and organ but also a Mellotron, while there is also a Theremin being used (and it can easily be heard at certain points, being musical as opposed to just creating a noise). Multi-layered, with vocal harmonies being an essential major part of their music, it would be easy for one to believe this is over-egged and can become too sickly, but the guitar cuts through when the time is right (both as an acoustic and powering electric). There are just three songs on the album but given the shortest is more than 12 minutes in length, and the longest well in excess of half an hour, there is never any danger of feeling short changed. Complex and complicated, yet somehow also incredibly entertaining and enjoyable from the very first listen, this is a superb release. I remember ĎStoriesí making a big impact on me and I do wish I hadnít lost touch over the years, but this is a real return to form. It may have been eight years since their last album, ĎThe Magician Chronicles - Part Ií, but they have announced they are back with a bang. Their last three albums were all on Progress Records, which I donít think is active anymore since the sad passing of founder Hansi Cross in August 2017, but in Bad Elephant they have found a new home. Letís hope it isnít so long until the next one, as symphonic, layered, beautifully arranged yet still rocky music like this deserves to be heard.
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