Haakon Ellingsen — Bounty
(POP57, 2005, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-01-01Many many years ago (in issue #12 to be precise) we reviewed a wonderful and heavily Beatles influenced psychedelic pop album titled Kindergarten by Norwegian trio The Last James. Haakon Ellingsen was one of two primary composers in that band, and though a lot of time and other musical experiences have transpired in the years since, his latest album Bounty in many ways picks up where that previous endeavor left off. It's definitely a more solo oriented work, with somewhat less dense instrumental structure, but the compositional spirit and arrangements are every bit as brilliant and playful, fusing elements of pop, psych, and folk with strong classical sensibilities. Ellingsen handles lead vocals, guitars, keyboards and mandolin, joined by six other musicians covering additional keyboards and guitars, sax, flute, drums, bass, and prominently featured cello. Ketil Vestrum Einarsen handles those cello arrangements, the woodwinds, keys and harmony vocals. Once again, the result is an absolutely wondrous and magical mix of great songs and lyrics, with subtle hooks at every turn. With inspiration to spare, nothing here is derivative. The only questionable inclusion comes at the very end with "Music Man," a track that was recorded in 1978 — perhaps his earliest recording ever (and certainly recorded under primitive conditions); it's an interesting bit, but closes this otherwise perfect disc in an odd way. Still, I give Bounty nine thumbs up and recommend finding a copy quick, before this one goes out of print too.
Related artist(s): Haakon Ellingsen
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