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Ex Norwegian — Hue Spotting
(Beyond Before BB111, 2020, CD / DL)
Ex Norwegian — Spotting Hues
(Beyond Before, 2020, CD / DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2020-09-27
On June 5 this year neo-psych band Ex Norwegian released two albums: Hue Spotting containing ten original tunes by Ex Norwegian founder Roger Houdalle and Spotting Hues, a collection of cover tunes from the likes of July, Dr. Strangely Strange, The Nice, etc. If you’ve been following Exposé over the years, you will know that Ex Norwegian is also one of the many bands that regularly appears on Fruits der Mer Records releases. One of the cool things about these two new albums is the Peter Max inspired artwork. The other of course is the music. Hue Spotting sports ten neo-psych pop songs that have roots firmly in the 60s. Trippiness abounds with heavy organ, processed vocals, reversed tapes, and shimmering guitars. Personal favorites include “Bloody Parrots!,” “Your Turn Papers Colour,” and the eight minute “Not Underground.” But where the band really excels is on Spotting Hues with its eleven cover tunes, coherent sound, and taking ownership of the music. The album opens with a cover of July’s “Hallo to Me” that sounds more like The Pretty Things or early The Who. Next is a cover of “Buffalo Billycan” by the obscure band Apple that also resembles The Pretty Things. The third track is a cover Dr. Strangely Strange’s “Jove Was at Home” which also resembles The Pretty Things more than the fae Doctor. The fourth track is “Happily Unemployed,” a cover of the Gruppo Sportivo hit. Then we come to a superb cover of The Nice’s “The Cry of Eugene,” so much so that you aren’t even comparing it to Keith Emerson! The sixth track is a Kaleidosope tune “Baby Stay for the Night,” which made me think of the Jay and the Americans’ hit “Come a Little Bit Closer.” Next in line is a cover of The End’s “Cardboard Watch” followed by a hard rocking cover of The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s “Until the Poorest of People Have Money to Spend.” The ninth track is a cover of another obscure artist, Billy Nicolls, and his pop-psych love song “Girl from New York.” This is followed by a cover of another obscure artist, Nick Garrie, and his trippy psych ballad “The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas,” which made me think of The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset.” And the album closes with a cover of Gene Clark’s “Lady of the North” that brings Ex-Norwegian’s sound back to The Pretty Things and S. F. Sorrow. Considering Spotting Hues, I would not be surprised to learn that this album was inspired by Keith Jones of Fruits de Mer.
Related artist(s): Ex Norwegian
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