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Junipher Greene - Friendship CD (album) cover


Junipher Greene


Heavy Prog

4.06 | 63 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars A sprawling double-album from Norway of all places, this delightful mixture of hard-edged psychedelia, acid pop and organ-laced progressive flourishes shows that its not just about symphonic music in Scandanavia. Whilst Sweden(Kaipa, The Flower Kings, Anglagard) and Finland(Haikara, Wigwam, Pekka Pohjola) have produced their fair share of progressive acts over the years, fellow nations Denmark and Norway have been pretty quiet. Step forward Junipher Greene. Formed sometime in the late-sixties(their history is hazy at best) 'Friendship', which, incredibly was the groups debut, was issued in 1971 on the Sonet imprint. Little was heard of the album throughout mainland Europe but it did make a bit of splash in the group's homeland thanks to the concerted mixture of jazzy hammond organ, roughneck guitars, playful lyrics and memorable melodies. Now, thanks to modern communication methods(the internet!) Junipher Greene's acid-rock tour-de-force has become something of a cult item, reaching the ears of fans across the globe and it's easy to see(or hear) why. Featuring eighteen tracks spread across almost an hour-long running time, 'Friendship' is some body of work. The overall tone tends to lean more towards meaty psych-rock than complex progressive-style rock, yet several listens do reveal a more measured and intricate approach at play, especially considering that the album's final eight tracks are actually one long interlocking piece. Its also interesting to note that 'Friendship' was actually, or so it is told, the first double-album to emerge from Norway, which, in many cases would showcase a group whose enthusiasm outdoes their experience, but again, this is simply not the case. Virtually every track here sounds like the work of a mature, confident outfit - Norway's own Beatles anyone? - and the fact that 'Friendship' is rarely ever dull is a testament to the bucket-loads of imagination smothered across the album. Picking stand-out tracks is incredibly difficult - there isn't a duff song to be found - yet the catchier, poppier numbers really shine. Of these, the jocular romantic witch tale 'Witches Daughter' is probably the most indelible, featuring a muscular guitar riff overlaying an almost funk-imbued rhythm and some truly funny lyrics regarding jocular occult practices. 'Maurice', a breezy ballad-of-sorts, is also worth mentioning, with lead-singer Helge Groslie putting in another fine display whilst his tightly-wound colleagues groove effortlessly away underneath. Finally, of course, their is the eight-part 'Friendship' itself, an audacious workout that cruises cunningly between playful acoustica and complex noodling, topping off an extremely satisfying album. An absolute must for all fans of progressive rock, 'Friendship' is an outstanding achievement.


stefro | 5/5 |


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