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TRACK LIST: 1. Play by the Hall Rules 12:13 2. This Is the One 4:42 3. BiN 5:44 4. Time to Play 8:31 5. Capitale Venditio 13:24 LINEUP: Daniel Maage – vocals; flute Bjarte Rossehaug – drums Martin Sjoeen – bass Stig Are Sund – guitars Fredrik Horn – keyboards; sax
Prolusion. The Norwegian act D'ACCORD was formed in early 2008, made up of a crew of musicians all sharing the same vision: to craft new music in the spirit of the great art rock and hard rock bands of the ‘70s. Their first, self-titled, album was released in the summer of 2009 as an independent production.
Analysis. Exploring the sound of the ‘70s has become an increasingly popular trend amongst bands in the last few years, and it appears that Scandinavia is something of a hotbed for acts exploring this particular territory. In this case we're dealing with a band fond of utilizing the organ and the flute to add textures to their arrangements, which pretty much is a sure-fire way to have comparisons made with well-known outfits such as Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and Jethro Tull, especially when these are among the ones D'Accord themselves state as influential. And while the harder hitting moments of this production do reach out towards these territories, with rich organ- and guitar-driven themes akin to the former, as well as flute and power chord arrangements that come across as more than a bit similar to the latter, the palette utilized by this talented Norwegian outfit encapsulates much more. The organ itself often sounds closer to Eloy than the efforts of Ken Hensley and Jon Lord; the lead vocals of Maage adds touches of Freddie Mercury as well as Thom Yorke to the proceedings, and the songs themselves contain a number of passages of a calmer nature than what you'd expect from anyone citing the harder hitting major rock bands of the ‘70s as influences. And it is when these mellower territories are explored I find D'Accord to be at their best. Laidback organ motifs, supporting strong lead vocals, the occasional use of strings, as in the closing half of opening number Play By the Hall Rules, the less energetic instrumental passages pairing off dreamy guitar soloing against a backdrop of tangents or flute, the six stringer often taking on a psychedelic touch on these occasions that suits this band well. They show a level of expertise in crafting atmospheric motifs that are of high quality throughout this venture. When the psychedelic tinges are given a bit more space, as on the final part of BiN, the end result can be breathtaking. Many bits and pieces in this puzzle are highly intriguing and enticing, but the compositions overall aren't as successful. In particular, when taking on more energetic themes I found the end result to be of a lesser nature, with the bass and drum arrangements as particular weaknesses to my ears. I found myself reminded of acts like Status Quo on these occasions, and for my personal taste in music this counts as a distraction.
Conclusion. D'Accord has created a fine effort with its first full album, crafting distinctly ‘70s sounding compositions whilst mostly avoiding downright replicating the more familiar acts of that era. And while the songs as a whole may not quite manage to entice all the way, the band manages to create and explore a number of alluring motifs along the way. The end result may not be a stellar product as such, but those who have a soft spot for vintage art rock overlapping into hard rock territories should find this album to be a treat for their particular taste in music.
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