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Retroheads - 2004 - "Retrospective"

(67 min, Unicorn)

TRACK LIST:                             

1.  Earthsong 10:45
2.  Man 5:14
3.  Judgment Day 9:16
4.  Dreams 6:09
5.  World Reveal 8:49
6.  Starry Night 6:05
7.  Urban Flight Delight 6:53
8.  Taking My Time 8:36
9.  The Fool 5:23

All tracks: by Tore-Bo & Retroheads.
Produced by O-H Jensen.


Tore-Bo Bendixen - vocals; keyboards; bass; programming
Ann-Kristin Bendixen - vocals 
Tommy Berre - guitars
Harald Skullerud - percussion

Prolusion. "Retrospective" is the first album by Norway's RETROHEADS. The project was started in 2003 by singer/keyboardist Tore-Bo Bendixen, before which he worked as a commercial music- and sound-producer for radio and TV.

Analysis. The album features eight songs and one instrumental, The Fool, bringing up the rear and representing a classic symphonic Art-and-Space Rock, which is the primary style of the album. While not the best, this is the most original composition here, just because it's free of singing. The point is that the vocals, figuratively speaking, are the principal messengers of derivation in the music of Retroheads. Tore-Bo sings not unlike either Roger Waters or David Gilmour, not making even an attempt to approach some different key. His wife or sister Ann-Kristin's vocals and vocalizes (here is somewhat of a family contract in this field) well match Tore-Bo's in reproducing the overall vocal palette Pink Floyd first applied on "The Dark Side on the Moon". In other words, when the band goes lyrically the resemblance between them and Pink Floyd is almost complete. Quite the contrary, the music in most of the instrumental sections isn't liable to direct comparison, and thankfully, independently developing instrumental arrangements occupy some more than a half of the album's space, on average. They are especially diverse and intriguing on the largely instrumental Dreaming and World Reveal, located right in the middle. The result is a fresh and original approach that puts the emphasis on intricate and compelling melodies. Excellent stuff. Since the band does not gamble much on the vocals, most of the other tracks are also tight and listenable, with most of the instrumental sections being of exquisite complexity. The only one that sounds really problematic to me is the more conventionally melodic (and extraneously romantic and melodious to such a title) Judgment Day, with Ann-Kristin taking most of the leads alone. This composition begins as a heavy Rock & Roll, but soon transforms into a rather straightforward electronic Space Rock with a strong modern Neo-like edge and no tempo changes. Although without an open derivativeness, this 9-minute composition is overextended and is my least favorite track on the album.

Conclusion. Although not a masterwork, "Retrospective" is an album worthy of the name and is worthy of note of Symphonic Progressive adherents of both old and new schools. Nevertheless, the band must take a giant step in the future to become less reliant on Pink Floyd approaches.

VM: February 23, 2005

Related Links:

Unicorn Records


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