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Landberk - One Man Tell's Another CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.77 | 91 ratings

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4 stars Melancholic beauty

Given how big of a phenomenon Porcupine Tree have become around here during the last couple of years, I find it baffling and quite unfair that an album like this remains hidden away in obscurity. From reading the preceding reviews of One Man Tells Another you're most likely going to think that it's a King Crimson affair much like Anekdoten or Anglagaard, and while that maybe true on a few occasions - what first and foremost jumps out of the music is Porcupine Tree's middle period. As a matter of fact, if you are even remotely interested in albums such as Lightbulb Sun and Stupid Dream - then you should be placing your order for this magnificent album right about now. Funny thing is, that Landberk recorded this one back in 1994, when Porcupine Tree still was in its pyjamas tripping on LSD and psychedelic mushrooms...

One Man Tells Another is in my humble opinion Landberk's strongest effort, and it puzzled me reading former reviewers equating this as U2 sounding prog rock. This album is about song writing, atmospheres, intriguing segments of understated suppressed beauty - sounding like flapping butterflies with wings of lead. What I mean by this is that the music here is soaked through in melancholy and sadness, and just like Steven Wilson's penchant for these tear jerking themes, often what you're left with here is an overpowering sense of beauty, that outside of music and perhaps paintings just doesn't reveal itself without a fight. Melting icecaps slowly emanating from your stereo - all hooked up to these bitter-sweet flavoured Swedes, who play their instruments with the feel of white burning embers and forest smoke.

So what makes me so convinced that this record is their best one? Firstly front singer Patric Helje never sounded this good. During the preceding albums, whereof the debut was sung in Swedish, Helje just didn't have this kind of power in his voice. Here he seems to have lived off elk smoothies, black ox blood and serrated nightmares, because the dark, masculine and yearning force he delivers the words with is a totally new and mesmerizing aspect to his vocal talents. The studio work is also far more inspiring on this one, and luckily so, because especially Helje's newly found fiery vocal talents deserve to be audible in the mix - a thing that in the past was neglected in favour of raw brute energy and rocking guitars. Normally I find myself attracted to the simplest of things. Music doesn't need to be overproduced or knitted into 25 different knots, recorded separately and attuned with gentle care into the mix. Somehow this is all just superfluous junk, if the stories aren't there - if there's a lack of real passion and the fire is gone. Landberk proved me wrong with this album though, and I'm kind of glad they did, because back when I got this, I was around 14 and I was all too caught up in the early punk greats, black metal and the Danish hardcore scene. Suddenly this album dropped into my lap, and I was forced to re-evaluate what I thought constituted proper music. Today that sounds pretty ridiculous, because even before my fling with all these maniacal, brutal and iron fisted musics - I always had a deep and powerful love of The Floyd, but somehow I forgot that. Landberk made me rediscover the gentleness in music. The beauty of soft melancholy and sadness.

Though gentle in nature, you'll probably also pick up on those few Crimsonian wind strokes ornamenting this album. Like the odd metered Kontiki song about Thor Heyerdal's mad expedition, that takes the listener through the terrifying waters of the Pacific Ocean - all of it conveyed through hovering eerie soundscapes and the rhythmic slashing lightnings of metallic guitar riffing.

My own personal faves from this outing are Time and Rememberence - both of them utilizing the fantastic guitar playing of Reine Fiske. Now while Fiske quite often sounds like a bat out of hell with fire and brimstone coming out his ass - here he approaches his instrument in a mellow and gentle way - making it sing and orgasm only through gentle touches, riffing and slowly alternating chords. He is truly a modern day guitar prodigy, and his fingerprints are all over this record. Furthermore these two outstanding tracks both ooze melody and clever song writing. They feel like notes from a journal or songs you'd sing to a loved one.

Whilst there are definite high points to this record, like the aforementioned tracks, there's never really any dives. It streams on by you all too quickly, and all of a sudden its finished. I've often heard this album several times in a row, because 1) I never tire of it and it brings me back to my youth and 2) It feels like the very essence of that particular place in time: There was a certain coldness and lonesomeness in the air. We, the young people were labelled as generation x - or generation fuck - meaning that we were thought of having absolutely no goals or direction in our lives. This was backed up by the whole grunge thing, and what most of us were left with was an overwhelming feel of numbness. No sense of being - just empty shells lying on some beach getting beaten around by the waves. -And this is why an album like Landberk's One Man Tells Another suddenly became so important, because it injected itself into me like a violent heroin dosage - ripping me out of a state of insignificance and nihilism. It did it with simple means, melodies and loads of melancholy and I'm still very thankful for that. 4.5 stars.

Guldbamsen | 4/5 |


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