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Incendiary Magazine (Netherlands) - original article

In The Country: Losing Stones, Collecting Bones

First thing of note is the splendidly intense cover artwork. Pencil sketches that could, in fairness, be described as psychotically twee. I particularly enjoyed the drawing of the girl with a bloody great vole on her head. Well they are from Norway…

And that’s not all. The band have given some splendid names to some of their songs, most notably The Bear, and Can I Come Home Now?

Now, how do we describe the music? Well if you like a bit of fusion, Vince Garaldi or the later Soft Machine releases you’ll like this. Especially if you like the piano, for there is a lot of piano. It’s not a manic record; My Best Friend is a Dancer is a hesitant stroll, whilst Hello Waltz has the odd strident moment tempered by a jazzy melancholy. For the most part it’s a collection of instrumentals. When we do get vocals (on Ashes to Ashes) they aren’t the most uplifting. And yes, I am aware that there is a positive message of sorts to be gleaned in the couplet “everyones gonna die/everyone live their lives”… but still.

Their Life sees the tempo raised a bit; I was afraid that I had an entire LP of dolorous jazzy meanderings ahead of me. And we do get some variety, Torch Fishing opens up very pleasantly with the aid of a guitar part and Can I Come Home Now is a great piece of slothful clumping that mellows beautifully by the end.

Okay, so it’s Nordic, it’s introspective, and yes, I have had to mention the J-word once or twice. But it does possess a certain charm.

Published : 03.02.2007