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Wobbler - Hinterland CD (album) cover

HINTERLAND

Wobbler

 

Symphonic Prog

3.83 | 232 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

fuxi
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I'VE SEEN THE FUTURE OF PROGRESSIVE ROCK AND ITS NAME IS WOBBLER.

Well, maybe yes, maybe no. But I did enjoy Wobbler's debut album. Although they're yet another Scandinavian band consciously trying to emulate the classic prog bands of the early 1970s, they seem to succeed better than most.

As with The Flower Kings or Spock's Beard, you'll be hearing lots of echoes. The ominous sounds of early Crimson are definitely here, as well as Keith Emerson's percussive Hammond organ, the pastoral mood of early Genesis and lots of tiny bits of Steve Howe-style guitar... Wobbler's music may be a hodgepodge, but they nearly convince me; they're having so much fun that very little sounds forced. And best of all, as far as I'm concerned, their lead singer is not as domineering as Neal Morse or Roine Stolt. (Many reviewers thought Wobbler's vocals were wobbly, but in spite of Tony Johannessen's technical limitations, I think he does an excellent job at catching this album's autumnal mood.)

So although Wobbler may not (yet) have turned one particular style of classical prog into something new and original (as Anekdoten did with 1970s Crimson), I'm convinced their music will be enjoyed by proggers who secretly wish Yes, Genesis et al were still making records the way they did in 1971.

One interesting point: if you look at this site's reviews of Wobbler's first album, many regular collaborators seem doubtful about the band; they've heard it all done better. Maybe they've listened to too much prog. Among the guest reviewers, on the other hand, a remarkable number of people have awarded five stars. Surely that's a good sign; it indicates Wobbler have touched many listeners' hearts.

I agree with all those more sceptical collaborators on one thing: the title track is far too long. It starts out powerfully and meanders nicely for the first 12 minutes or so. Then a new theme appears, played on recorders, classical guitar and harpsichord. At first you think: 'Aha, neo-baroque, typically prog!' But the same theme is continually repeated by the entire band for about ten minutes, until you're screaming: 'Enough already!'

Oh well, it's not too hard to forgive the sins of youth, especially when the final album track then opens with a mellotron theme so striking and majestic I can't get it out of my head. This theme undergoes all kinds of permutations and when it reappears towards the end, it sounds stronger still. For this tune alone, I warmly recommend this album!

Here's hoping there'll be much more Wobbler to come.

fuxi | 3/5 |

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