Exposé Online banner

Ex Norwegian — Hue Spotting
(Beyond Before BB111, 2020, CD / DL)

Ex Norwegian — Spotting Hues
(Beyond Before, 2020, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2020-06-05

Hue Spotting Cover artSpotting Hues Cover art

Ex Norwegian is a band that has touched on a number of styles during its more than ten years of existence, and with Hue Spotting, they are in full-on neo-psychedelic mode, presenting a tasty set of ten trippy melodic tunes that pay close attention to the classics of the late 60s while maintaining a fresh sound. Right off the bat, “Fear Backwards” gives us a driving drum beat, twanging guitars, and vocals treated with a phase shift, not to mention Mellotron-like keyboards. There are some more modern keyboard sounds as well, but they don’t detract from the psychedelic mood. The style called power pop that emerged in the 70s could be seen as a development from 60s psychedelic rock, and Ex Norwegian blends the two seamlessly on songs like “Comfort Sands,” which has a charming melody played on a melodica in several sections. Every song is fun, full of great melodies, interesting arrangements, and solid playing. In keeping with the standards of the psychedelic era, there’s even one tune featuring an extended guitar solo, with echoes and wah-wah in evidence. Anyone who enjoys upbeat rock music should enjoy this album even if Nazz and the Strawberry Alarm Clock aren’t on their radar.

As a companion to Hue Spotting, Ex Norwegian also has Spotting Hues, an album full of covers of actual vintage tunes, mostly pretty obscure ones. From the 60s, we get tracks from July, Apple, The Nice, The End, West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Billy Nicholls, and Nick Garrie; the 70s are represented by Fairfield Parlour and Gene Clark; and then there’s a version of “Happily Unemployed,” a 1982 song by Gruppo Sportivo that’s done as if it had been from the 60s instead of ska-inflected New Wave. All are worthy, and several may in fact be the first times these songs have ever been covered — it’s not as if there are many people who have heard the source material, let alone learned how to play them. The Nice’s “Cry of Eugene” is especially fun, and certainly has better vocals than the original. On a musical level, this album of covers is every bit as enjoyable as its companion of originals, and could even serve as a jumping of point to explore some super-obscure corners of music history. I’d recommend Hue Spotting as the main dish, with Spotting Hues if you have room for dessert.


Filed under: New releases, 2020 releases

Related artist(s): Tom Newman, Apple, July, The Nice, Ex Norwegian

More info
http://shop.exnorwegian.com/album/hue-spotting

Latest news

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gutbucket - A Modest Proposal – This (the band's fourth album) was the first I'd heard of Gutbucket, but it impressed me so that I immediately tracked down their second and third albums (Dry Humping the American Dream and Sludge...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues