Exposé Online banner

Qoph — Pyrola
(Kaleidophone KALCD1, 2004, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2005-03-01

Pyrola Cover art

It’s been entirely too long since this Swedish band’s 1998 debut. Since that time, the band has formed their own label and started singing in English. Their basic sound is intact, however, and honed to an even finer point. Their core is an off-kilter take on classic rock, rather like Captain Beyond’s first album inflected with some slight touches of symphonic and exotic sounds. The guitars rock without entering the metal zone; the drums have a jazzy lilt; the strong vocal lines have just the right balance between melody and rock power; guests from Anekdoten, Mats/Morgan, and so on provide a little extra flair. When I heard they were switching to English I was a little concerned – non-native speakers often have unpleasant affectations, and the lyrics could end up killing whatever musical value there was. I needn’t have worried. The lyrics are well-written, and the accent quite pleasant. From the opening “spacey minuet in 5/4+6/4” to the epic closer “Fractions,” this is one of the year’s finest releases in any genre. While the arrangements are endlessly complex, they flow so well that there’s no hint of pretense; the odd meters are handled as if they were no big deal, and even big-name bands are hauling out Mellotrons and theremins these days. There are far too many wonderful moments to mention here: great guitar work, crisp production, a kick-butt rhythm section, catchy riffs, really great guitar playing, wacked-out Moog solos, acoustic bits to contrast the loud parts, more great guitars.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 31, 2004 releases

Related artist(s): Simon Steensland, Qoph

Latest news

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Simon Phillips - Another Lifetime – Simon Phillips is a drummer who has little to prove nowadays, what with the monstrous level of playing ability he has cultivated over the years. Terry Bozzio is perhaps his closest competitor...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues