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Agusa - Högtid CD (album) cover




Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.00 | 179 ratings

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5 stars Swedish band AGUSA was formed at the start of 2013, with bassist Tobias Pettersson and guitarist Mikael Ödesjö the founding members, with drummer Dag Strömkvist and keyboardist Jonas Berge joining the ranks soon after. "Högtid" is their debut album, and was released through Swedish label Transubstans Records at the start of 2014.

What we're dealing with here is an album made by a band with a strong affection for early 70's psychedelic and progressive rock. Vintage and retro are words that define everything going on throughout this production, a case of true love and affection for a specific sound explored with warmth and care by musicians that know this type of music by heart.

The opening three compositions all contain some elements directly inspired by and to some degree oriented towards a folk or world music sound. Which adds a certain emphasis to the psychedelic charms of the band. The folky touches are less distinct on the final two tracks on this 5 track production, although I do suspect those with a better knowledge than me on such matters might find clues of that kind also in these compositions. Fourth track Stigen Genom Skogen is the only piece here that feature vocals, sparingly applied at the start of the song, otherwise this is an instrumental production.

Guitars and organ are the dominant instruments throughout, the former distinctly retro sounding and the latter, perhaps obviously, is the good, old Hammond used unless I'm much mistaken. The songs ebbs and flows between solo wandering by one or the other, frequently also combining them, with a varying degree of psychedelic tinged textures utilized. The most prominent example of this probably third track Östen om Sol, Västen om Måne, as this song revolves around an exotic sounding theme with a world music orientation.

Otherwise I found that this album gave me strong associations towards the earliest albums by Eloy, perhaps Inside in particular, due to the manner in which the organ is applied. Which arguably will place Agusa in more of a Krautrock tradition than a psychedelic one. Some additional touches, like the use of more playful and subtly jazzoriented details, brings a band like Camel to mind. Concluding track Kärlek från Agusa is the main example of that, a brief and spirited creation that should bring a joy-filled smile to the face of most people fond of mid 70's Camel.

Retro-oriented band excursions aren't difficult to come across these days, and many of them are indeed of high quality too. As far as I'm concerned Agusa are better and more accomplished than the greater majority of bands exploring a similar territory however. If this is due to the band exploring a sound that I personally treasure more than others may of course be the case, but the bands still strikes me as better and more accomplished than most others I have encountered. Be that as it may be, but if you have a strong affection for instrumental progressive rock with a psychedelic and subtle folk music tinge to it, explored within an early 70's framework, this is a band and an album you should investigate. Those who enjoy early 70's Eloy and similar sounding bands should be first in line, especially those amongst them that also have spent a fair share of time exploring Camel's mid 70's productions.

Windhawk | 5/5 |


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