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Dynamo Bliss - 21st Century Junk CD (album) cover


Dynamo Bliss

Crossover Prog

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PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
3 stars This is a nice album featuring candied songs, sometimes rocking but mostly atmospheric and melancholic. DYNAMO BLISS are a new project from Sweden consisting of three skilled musicans. The influences and references are obvious, one could say retro oriented in some way. 10CC, ELO, Pink Floyd and the Beatles are defining the boundaries, however you will find some prog essence too.

Just to mention the multi-faceted opener Fear Of Clouds which appears like a little symphonic suite. A charming start with excellent polyphonic vocals but soon they switch to a rocking groove which reminds of typical US bands like Poco for example. By and by the song evolves to a tricky one with lush keyboards, synths, mellotron aso. The psychedelic Thin Air is another highlight offering a wonderful relaxed mood based on the accentuated piano and guitar work.

All in all '21st Century Junk' is a solid production, provided with sense of melody and atmosphere - however, die-hard prog enthusiasts should be careful. But if you want to know how bands like The Beatles or 10CC would probably sound today if they were not disbanded, this is a big recommendation ... just hurry up and listen here.

Report this review (#284872)
Posted Friday, June 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I am going to be generous with my rating for this one, as I think this band have huge potential for the future and I do think there is more depth to this album than first appears. They have very clear melodic influences via the Beatles and ELO with the vocal influence of the Beach Boys. In modern vocal terms they bear similarities to their countrymen Moon Safari, who are also clearly influenced by Beach Boy-esque harmonies. At times it sounds almost psychedelic. It is, all in all, a charming album. 'Fear of Clouds' is an outstanding song and the rest of the album has a very laid back and sometimes nostalgic feel to it. It's definitely another one of those albums that the more you listen to it the better it gets. There is more to this than meets the eye and I hope to see a new album of even better material in the near-future!

In October 2011, they released a single concept track, more than ten minutes in length, called Circadian Rhythm. It shows clear progression of their talents and, again, is a charming track full of warmth. This is a very likeable band and they deserve a lot more recognition than they currently have. With one killer album, they could certainly break into a wider market, as their countrymen Moon Safari are beginning to. I wish them all the best of luck!

Report this review (#727477)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Do you relish to have the new music produced in a carefully-crafted manner? Then just pay attention to DYNAMO BLISS. This Swedish group is able to recreate the exciting retro-sound. Among of main references I could give like traces are: The Beatles, Electric Light Orchestra, Klaatu, Alan Parsons and 10 cc. The harmony vocals have a great deal of importance, drawing emotions and state of mind. The keyboards shine quite often and offer a lot of new perspectives. The guitar playing is amazing, the bass performance and drums are noteworthy too. A delicacy of material keeps better each time you take it in... '21st Century Junk' is an album that's highly enjoyable to listen to. We don't often have the opportunity to encounter such style of high class music. Totally unpretentious yet very effective style. All in all, Dynamo Bliss clearly show their influences but these multi talented guys have enough quality and fresh ideas to come soon with another fantastic album. If the debut CD from these Swedish guys is sooooo good, I wonder what the future might hold for them!
Report this review (#934677)
Posted Sunday, March 24, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The roots of this Swedish trio from Umea go back in 2001, when Stefan Olofsson (vocals, keyboards) and Peter Olofsson (drums, percussion) played together in a Beatles cover band.As soon as they were joined by Mikael Sandström (vocals, guitars), they figured out that they shared the same vision regarding music and decided to form the Dynamo Bliss trio in 2005.After several rehearsals in various places around the Umea area, they started recording their debut in 2008, eventually released in 2010 as a digital download.

A twisted and rich Progressive Rock album, ''21st century junk'' recalls the first steps of BRIGHTEYE BRISON, having straight 70's prog vibes mixed with modern Pop sensibilities in an intelligent way, that ends up in quirky, fast-paced compositions with both catchy moments and atmospheric waves.While their music remains fairly accesible all the way, the Swedish trio always surprises the listener with its demanding tunes, clever breaks and retro-styled multi-vocal deliveries with a strong THE BEATLE-esque flavor.Basically ''21st century junk'' sounds like if the Symphonic Rock basics meet the Psychedelic Pop adventures of the late-60's, though the approach is very contemporary.Sweet harmonies, orchestral textures and bluesy guitars meet the charming synthesizers, the delicate acoustic and electric piano and the vintage Mellotron of Stefan Olofsson, thus producing nostalgic soundscapes.Some very beautiful melodies are also included in the album with romantic piano vibes and sensitive vocal arrangements supporting, but even these tracks have something really interesting to offer, either it is a nice instrumental amalgam or the impressive blend of different, inspirational sources.

For those who simply can't live without physical CD's, the same album was released by Aerodynamic Records later in 2010.Vintage Progressive/Pop Rock meets the contemporary Art Rock scene in a convincing and emphatic way.Warmly recommended.

Report this review (#990085)
Posted Sunday, June 30, 2013 | Review Permalink
Founding Moderator
3 stars When I first heard this album, it "bothered" me (a lot) because I couldn't decide whether to review it based on "what it was" or "what it might have been." So I waited until I could secure the actual CD before reviewing it. I don't know whether the other reviewers did this, but I'm glad I did, because the actual CD is SO much better than all of the various computer downloads, etc., even on a high- tech computer, with headphones. (And this album should DEFINITELY be listened to with headphones!)

I was impressed by this album even prior to securing the CD, and am even more impressed now. Still, I need to provide two different ratings: the 3-star rating I am giving it vis-ā-vis the entirety of prog, and a 4.5-star rating for effort, creativity and "potential."

Thus far, all the reviews have noted the obvious (and often admitted) influences: The Beatles, 10CC, ELO, a touch of Floyd, etc. However, the reason the album "spoke" to me in a way that very few albums ever have is that it reminds me more of Klaatu than any band I have ever heard: indeed, this is what Klaatu might have sounded like in its earliest years (as a "garage" band? LOL). After all, Klaatu admits as its three greatest influences The Beatles, 10CC and ELO (with a touch of Tchaikovsky). And they, too, have touches of Floyd (and others). So the comparison with Klaatu is perhaps even more apt than the comparison with the mutual influences on both groups.

In this regard, what the CD brought out much better than any download was the "production" - which is FAR more "present" on the CD (particularly with headphones) than anywhere else, and was the aspect of the album that most bothered me prior to hearing the CD.

Missing from the track list on this page are the short "bookend" songs that appear on the CD, but not on most downloads - "Junk Intro" and "Junk Outro" - both of which are critical to the "whole" of the album, since the first one "sets up" the basics, and the second creates a wonderful "coda."

When you add the two bookends, you find that the album is presented as something of a quasi- concept album (even if the lyrics do not reflect that) in the sense that almost all the songs are connected by segues of either music or sound effects. That said, the first half of the album (Fear of Clouds, Closer to the Heart, No Sense In It, Thin Air) is far more "successful" than the second (Bird of Passage, Mausoleum, White Cherry Hill), which is more "commercially" "song"-y. (Had the entire album been like the first half, my review would be at least four stars.)

Without doing a song-by-song review (since the other reviewers have done quite well in that regard), the music is wonderfully creative in the vein of the influences represented, the arrangements are excellent, and the vocal harmonies (!) are nothing short of superb. As well, having now heard the "production" in its proper state, I am actually very impressed, since it is the production and "atmospheres" on Klaatu's albums that truly "cement" their greatness within the canon. And while Dynamo Bliss doesn't rise nearly to the level of Klaatu in this regard (indeed, few groups do!), this is why my "real" rating also reflects "potential": Dynamo Bliss is definitely on the right track re production/atmosphere, and if they improve, it will increase their excellence even more.

The only weak element here is the lyrics, which are utilitarian (and sometimes pseudo-esoteric) at best, and pedestrian at worst. Still, they are "fine" enough to make the album quite enjoyable.

Now that I own the CDs of all three of their full-length albums, I will listen to (and hopefully review) the other two as well. In the meantime, I am simply so pleased to hear ANYONE coming as close to Klaatu as they do, since (as you can tell by my avatar) Klaatu is among my favorite bands ever, even though they only put out three-and-a-half (masterpiece) albums (the 4th being "required by contract," and thus expectedly worse than the others).

All in all, if you like Klaatu - or any of their influences (Beatles, 10CC, ELO, Floyd, etc.) - you cannot go wrong with at least one complete listen to this album. It really is a joy, and great fun to listen to.

Report this review (#1112038)
Posted Friday, January 10, 2014 | Review Permalink

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