Moron Police — A Boat on the Sea
(Bandcamp no#, 2019, DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-10-19
Sometimes you can just look at the cover of an album and have a pretty good idea – in a general sense – what the music is like. I used this method all the time back in the 60s and 70s and generally had pretty good luck with the results. The latest album, A Boat on the Sea, by Norwegian quartet Moron Police is one such album, their third full length release, and the album cover is a bold statement that says “This is prog,” and we’re not talking retro or neo-prog, this is forward-looking, a sound is packed with vibrant energy and virtuosity at every turn, in every measure, a modern style that has unique currency while delivering all the goods; this is the same feeling I got from the first Echolyn album back in 1991 (even though the two bands don’t really sound alike). There are bursts of melodic energy with superb vocal harmonies, all in a fast paced and catchy song based style. Describing themselves as a “weird band from Norway,” they seem to be doing everything right, and nothing to excess. The band is bassist Christian Fredrik Steen, drummer Thore Omland Pettersen, keyboardist Lars Bjørknes, and guitarist, lead vocalist, and additional keyboardist Sondre Skollevoll; additional players feature track depending on tenor and soprano saxes, accordion, and violin, it seems like every cut except the opener “Hocus Pocus” has one or more extra players. Overall, their sound is bright and robust, but never drifts toward metal, or for that matter anything else. Every one of the eight songs is a standout by itself, even though they all fit together nicely like a lengthy suite, with a break just before “The Dog Song.” “The Phantom Below” calls in multiple keyboards and a powerfully melodic main theme that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I detect a lot of Zappa influence in the herky-jerky breaks of “Captain Awkward,” where the vocals sound like something from the early Mike Keneally catalog, but equally bizarre is a soft break at around the three minute mark that turns back around and erupts into the fast paced mode once again. My personal favorite is “The Invisible King,” a great and ear-friendly composition with thoughtful lyrics (all lyrics in English and available on their Bandcamp page) with quick and witty arrangements. There isn’t a bad song here anywhere, trust me on that, or take a trip over to their Bandcamp page and sample a few; you won’t be sorry.
Related artist(s): Moron Police
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