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Reviews

Landberk — Indian Summer
(Musea FGBG 4198.AR, 1996, CD)

Indian Summer Cover art

Landberk makes me sleepy. Now before this is taken as criticism, remember that sleep is a good thing at the right time, which is as good an analogy as I can get to their music. This is essentially their fourth album (not counting their translations and EPs) and if you've read the review last issue of the Dream Dance EP then you'll be fully acquainted with the style of music here. As Landberk's main focus is on a gloomy night-time symphonic rock, there aren't really a lot of those upbeat and thrilling moments that I'd normally associate with the Swedish scene and since there is no attempt at these, the dynamics tend to plod at times. Landberk's vocalist seems to be sounding more and more like Bono these days which also doesn’t exactly score points on my scale but as I've said many times before Landberk do what they do quite well. I am starting to tire of the sameness in material though. I mean regardless of the style there should be some attempt to come at it differently every time. Maybe they don't have any more tricks up their sleeves or maybe it works for them, it's hard to tell. Every once in a while on a candlelit night with the fumes of Baltic amber incense wafting in the air I'll still give them a listen.

by Mike McLatchey, Published 1997-02-01


Before Änglagård and Anekdoten were household prog names, Landberk was paving the way for the new breed of Swedish progressive rock bands. It's strange in a way because Landberk doesn't sound anything like either of those bands. Indian Summer is a picturesque title and the music is equally interesting. Honing their musical skills over the last several years and albums, Landberk has clearly got the slow groove down! They should patent it if they haven't already. Their trademark moody, pulsating, surreal passages are subtle yet powerful. They are experts at taking parts down and building them back up — very slowly of course. If you took the middle section to King Crimson's "Starless" and made a theme and variation album around it, it might sound something like Landberk. If the term "low-key" could apply to any band, it would certainly be these guys. The guitars and vocals are at the forefront of Indian Summer. The keyboards seem to be a bit in the background compared with the other releases and live performances I've seen and heard. The Mellotron is definitely there, but the Hammond and friends are noticeably quiet. There is a cool vocal part that sounds like it's been run through a Leslie speaker however. That rules! At times, Landberk can sound more like they are from Seattle than Sweden, and the vocals sometimes sound like Bono from U2. So, fans expecting heartbeat-accelerating, loud, complex prog should look elsewhere. Those looking to chill, grab a seat and put on the headphones.

by Mike Grimes, Published 1997-02-01


Landberk's third album is basically what you'd expect from this Swedish outfit: every bit as melancholy and organic as their first two releases. Mellotrons weave in and out of clean guitar arpeggios, smooth vocal lines wail in and out of straight-forward drum patterns while 70s-style bass sounds tie it all down. Imagine Anekdoten on sedatives and this is what you'd get. Sometimes Landberk comes dangerously close to sounding mainstream, perhaps because of the modern vocal stylings or maybe the repetitive song structures. Nevertheless, sometimes you can't help but think this is "Crimson meets U2." Fans of their prior efforts are sure to be thrilled with this effort as well. On the other hand, Landberk's minimalist approach combined with some less-than-inspired performances makes this album as a whole a bit too shallow and leaves this reviewer feeling empty. It's as if these songs are still only half-baked, when they could be so much more. But that's been my gripe with Landberk since day one. Nevertheless, this is a distinctly Swedish album, and will please many and probably bore just as many. Proceed according to your tastes...

by Dan Casey, Published 1997-02-01


Filed under: New releases, Issue 11, 1996 releases

Related artist(s): Landberk, Reine Fiske

 

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