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2 stars One of the veterans of the Norwegian prog rock scene. The drummer was actually the sound-man for Rush when they played Njårdhallen in Norway back in 1978. Which may explain why the bootleg from that gig is so good. This gys was actually one of those who got me into prog in the first place. It is therefore a pity that I do not like this album as much as I would like to. The synths-sound are really bad here. It is plastic all over. The vocals are pretty bad too. The music is like a mix of IQ, Pendragon, Dream Theater and Jethro Tull. But most of it is too much straight forward rock. The songs are too much in the three to five minutes bracket. But some good pieces is scattered among this mediocrity. But there is not enough of them to keep my interest. In an ocean full of salmon, sardines does not suffice.
Report this review (#186700)
Posted Thursday, October 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars When I first spun this CD some four years ago, the opener ''Intelligence'' was such a second hand ''Watcher Of The Skies'' and I couldn't help: I was rather charmed by this track (inclusive of the fine fluting). This fabulous ''Genesis'' song has been so many times borrowed of course, but little time with such similarity.

But on top of this, there is a strong link with a song like ''Seven Stones''. In all, this opening song could have been a wonderful one; but as usual, vocals are so poor that they almost ruin what could have been a great track (even if lacking of originality of course).

What's coming next is not grandiose stuff to be honest. Some heavy and unmelodic music with ''Backward Sounds''. As it happens with lots of neo-prog albums (I'm not speaking about the great ''Arena'', ''IQ'', ''Pendragon'' or the likes if you see what I mean), the more you listen to these type of albums, the less enchanting they are after ten spins. This is exactly what happens with this ''Man Overboard''.

Average music, all the way through: no surprise, no fine vocals (on the contrary, these are dreadful) nothing moving. Even if the closing section of ''My Nights'' do display some fine guitar (which is rarely heard with ''Fruitcake'').

There is only one exception here: the fine instrumental ''Goblin Dinner''. Melodic guitar, passionate music actually. The fact that this track is instrumental is for sure not alien to the fact that it the second best song of this work. To be complete, I would add that fine fluting is to be heard during the heavy ''I've Taken Nothing'' which is the closing number. A certain Tull flavour at times...

Three good songs and that's it!

There is a bonus disc available as well, which is a collection of old and unpublished ''Fruitcake'' songs or assimilated. This won't improve the quality level of the album but it is not a bad exercise either.

As a whole, two stars is the highest rate I can provide.

Report this review (#216250)
Posted Saturday, May 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars "Man Overboard" from 2004 is the last release from this Norwegian band so far. As usual the vocals and keyboards are the weak links but unlike "Room For Surprise" or "Power Structure" there's nothing else here to lift this up to being even close to a 4 star rating. Interesting that they have 3 guitarists here. I'm not sure why because there isn't a lot of guitar on this. I miss Robert Hauge who played on "Power Structure" that guy could play. Also Nina who played flute on that same album isn't on here either unfortunately.

"Intelligence" has a good intro with flute and some heaviness. It settles in before a minute then we get a calm as vocals arrive.Themes are repeated somewhat the rest of the way. "Backwards Sounds" opens with the keys and guitar trading off then the drums and bass help out as it builds. Synths too.Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes. I like when the synths come in each time. Relaxed guitar late. "Lazy Timing" opens with guitar then it kicks in and vocals follow. It settles with keys after 2 1/2 minutes.The drums and bass add some depth here.This is good as the guitar starts to play over top. "My Nights" opens with piano, flute and atmosphere. Reserved vocals follow. It's an okay song. "Passion Impossible" opens with synths and atmosphere then a beat with some heaviness takes over as contrasts continue.

"The Smoking Gun" builds as a beat joins in. It settles back around a minute and reserved vocals follow.It picks back up as contrasts continue. "Once Upon A Naked Floor" opens with pulsating synths as keys join in.This doesn't sound good. Flute replaces the keys and it gets heavier followed by vocals. Guitar before 2 1/2 minutes. "Goblin Dinner" is the only instrumental on here. It's a pleasant and laid back tune. "I've Taken Nothing" opens with vocals and a light sound. Flute replaces the vocals then it kicks in at a minute. Much better. Contrasts continue though.

A low 3 stars from me but I still like to play me some FRUITCAKE once in a while. Just not this one.

Report this review (#439865)
Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | Review Permalink

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