Apollon Records [Release date 07.10.16]
We’ve had an obsession with all things Scandinavian in recent years and the fourth album from Norwegian instrumentalists Pymlico contributes to this Nordic sense of intrigue.
Wholly instrumental, prog/jazz fusion in approach, the band is led by drummer Arild Broter who writes most of the material. Together with his henchmen – including Marie Faerevaag on saxophone – they create a musical landscape as exhilarating and energising as a Norwegian fjord.
‘Crab Key’ and ‘Erised’ are good examples with Oyvind’s Broter’s sweeping keys complementing Stephan Hvinden’s heavier guitar figures – ‘Erised’ could even be a theme to a Scandi crime thriller. ‘Second Rate Punk’ develops into a funky wig-out where the guitar plays off the added brass section with great effect. This Chicago brassiness (as in Chicago, the band) continues on the strangely entitled NOL861613060.
In places the band’s approach reminds me of the jazz funk band Spyrogyra, who flourished briefly (in terms of crossover) in the late-1970s but who also combined the same infectious rhythms and melody with a rock twist in the guitar department.
This is the sort of album that if you heard it playing on a good system at a friend’s house or – dare I say it – in a “record shop”, you would want to know its origins. It’s difficult to sustain a purely instrumental album but Pymlico do this with the strength of their compositions and musicianship. Like that Nordic landscape it’s varied enough to be interesting and, like the best Nordic Noir, somewhat immersive. Magnificent. *****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
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