Wobbler, a Norwegian band formed in 1999 near Hønefoss; no, I had no idea until I looked either; release their fourth album.
Who are Wobbler?
Lars Fredrik Frøislie – keyboards, backing vocals, Kristian Karl Hultgren – bass, bass clarinet, bass recorder, Martin Nordrum Kneppen – drums, percussion, recorder, Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo – vocals, guitar, glockenspiel, percussion, Geir Marius Bergom Halleland – lead guitar, backing vocals.
It is a 4 track album with 3 tracks between 10 and 20 minutes and one that comes in at 3 minutes. On my first play through I am going to own up to having some immediate judgements on the band and the music they make. I am new to them and have not heard any of their music, I am though a fan of Trevor Pinnock and his work creating authentic music on the instruments in the classical field and I see something of this in the music of Wobbler and their desire to create the authentic sound of the bands of the “golden age” of progressive rock. They also have channeled the bands of the time as key influences of creative process.
From Silence to Somewhere is the opener and at 21 minutes is indicative of the desire to be the wormhole to the late 60s and early 70s. Musically it carries the spirit of the 70s but is recorded in an analogue way through digital technology. We then have a quandary because sonically this is better than their heroes, or at least those they seem to witch to emulate. Mellotrons, time changes, light and shade abound with woodwind of the medieval instruments and flute dropping in left right and centre. The harmonies are well constructed and the jigsaw puzzle of the music fits together inch perfect, well nanometre perfect. It is very slick.
Rendered In shades of Green is a simpler beast., piano and strings with light percussion that lifts from a requiem overture to something with more of a lightness of touch.
That is light relief for Fermented Hours hits like a steam hammer through a polystyrene wall. Over 10 minutes of more rapidly changing musical sound scapes than may actually be good for the health.
Finally Foxlight, pastoral in its introduction and lightness, is a relief after the previous track. Harmonies and a very acoustic drive to it give the listener a memory of laying in a hay meadow by the moon light in a balmy summers evening. Well at least for the first 3 minutes before they crash into a full-on-band-beast; Harpsichord flute bass and drums dance around each other for supremacy with Andreas’ vocals bouncing along the track to narrate the storyline.
I am going to be honest, I have no idea what the songs are about and I am not trying to get inside the heads of the writers. They are obviously passionate about what they do and are focused on creating music that is a reflection and wear the musical influences like a heart on their collective sleeves. They draw directly from the source and you can hear it. Fans of King Crimson, PFM, Gentle Giant, Jethro Tull, Gryphon, The Tangent and Big Big Train will find something in this album worth listening to and enjoying. There is a market for their music and, after being done over by the visa department by the good old USA this summer, some recompense is due to them.
Released 20th October 2017