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Retroheads Retrospective album cover
3.40 | 37 ratings | 9 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Earthsong (10:45)
2. Man (5:14)
3. Judgement Day (9:16)
4. Dreams (6:09)
5. World Reveal (8:49)
6. Starry Night (6:05)
7. Urban Flight Delight (6:53)
8. Taking my Time (8:26)
9. The Fool (5:23)

Total Time: 67:00

Line-up / Musicians

- Tore B Bendixen / vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass
- Ann-Kristin Bendixen / vocals
- Tommy Berre / acoustic & lead guitars
- Harald Skullerud / percussion
- Ole Staveteig / lead guitar
- Odd Harald Jensen / drums

Releases information

CD Unicorn Records UNCR-5017

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RETROHEADS Retrospective ratings distribution

(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

RETROHEADS Retrospective reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars This is a Norwegian formation that got a contract by a Canadian label. The band's name and the title of the album contain the words 'retro', so what's in a name? Well, the CD starts with lush Mellotron sounds, say no more I thought! But to my surprise the music sound quite original, varied (spacey, mellow, swinging, bombastic and some songs with acoustic guitar) and melodic with lots of good ideas and pleasant atmospheres. Most of the nine compositions are based upon great guitarplay (many strong soli), supported by lush Mellotron (violin/flute/choir) and organ. Remarkable are two tracks with obvious hints to Jeff Beck ("World Reveal") and David Gilmour (splendid slide guitar in "Judgement Day"). The vocals (male and female) sound OK with some elements from Alan PARSONS and I'm pleased with the regular spacey synthesizer soli. This CD is a very promising start, I'm looking forward to hear more from RETROHEADS!
Review by Prognut
4 stars Two words that possible describe this album.... Pleasant Surprise!!!

Retroheads/Retrospective are not as "Retro" as I thought they would! I do believe is a good and strong debut. No major surprises, or complexity; but they do not sound derivative either...that is why I gave 4 instead of 3 stars!!

Very nice Modern Symphonic use of "Golden Era" Instrumentation (Mellotron/Mini Moog/Bass Pedals, etc..); I especially enjoyed the long Instrumentation passages with a definitive spacey feel!!

Two tracks stand out IMO "Judgment day" and "Taking my Time"; both Guitar driven tracks (ala Claude Mignon of Seven Reizh, another fantastic release!!), with plenty of Synth collaboration!! Overall, nice male and female vocals, with an Alan Parson's Project aftertaste.

It will be interesting to find out where they move from here, on their next output. Meanwhile, I probably enjoy several spins on this one...a slow grower to say the least.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This record got off to a bad start for me, the vocals really stood out in a bad way on the first two songs. It seems that when he really tries to sing with some emphasis, the accent and the bad tone really stick out. On the other hand when he sings in a reserved way he actually sounds a lot like Andy Latimer, who's vocals I love.

"Judgement Day" is a great song, nice extended guitar solo with drums, it really shines. "Dreams" is introduced with spacey synths for about 2 minutes. Then guitar, drums and keyboards create a nice groove. Good song.The vocals on "Dreams" and "Starry Night " especially sound like Latimer. "Urban Flight Delight" has more great guitar.

Good record, just not a great one.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Retroheads is a very true band name when it comes to the musical ideas on Retrospective. The music is heavily influenced by seventies progressive rock. The first thing I thought about when listening to this album was The Flower Kings. Retroheads have a similar sound even though they are more simple sounding in the end. The comparison between those two bands is boasted even more by the fact that Tore B Bendixen has a very similar voice to Roine Stolt. So I think Retroheads are a retro band inspired by another retro band. This is potentially dangerous, but Retroheads does pull it through without too many problems.

The music is as mentioned heavily influenced by seventies symphonic prog and generally the songs are very pleasant to listen to. Tore B Bendixen has a very pleasant voice. He is assisted by Ann-Kristin Bendixen who sings mostly some Pink Floyd inspired background vocals. I must admit this is not to my liking, but it is an aquired taste for sure. The songs are all more or less in the same vein and for me personally this is a bit of a disappointment. I was expecting more after listening to the first good song called Earthsong but it seems Retroheads are satisfied with playing this limited style. They do it well Ill have to give them that. But this is the kind of album where you only need to listen to the first song to know what the rest of the album will sound like.

The musicians are very competent, and there are many solos and other instrumental interludes that demands just that. Its all done in a slow to mid tempo though, Id even go as far as calling this a bit stoned at times ( but I feel the same way about The Flower Kings).

The production is pretty good, yet nothing special.

So the conclusion must be that this is a good album, that never rises above the mediocre though and very much lacks a personal style. It deserves 3 stars though as it is professionel sounding and the compositions are well composed and played.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Yeah, Retroheads, the title says it all! Won't be hard wringing a torture-laced confession out of these dudes, wot? These Norwegian proggers decided to give themselves the right and freedom to fool around, old-style, combining space, symphonic prog and electronics within a song format, just to keep things interesting. Main composer and instrumentalist Tore Bo Bendixen shines on vocals, keys, guitars, bass and programming, bringing on as added guests (sister/wife) Ann-Kristin Bendixen, lead guitarist Tommy Berre , another guest axeman on one track and some percussionist. The 10 minute + "Earthsong" begins like a sci-fi soundtrack, crackling noises laced by some gorgeous interplanetary synth sweeps, mellotron swirls and morphing into a swooning song, sprinkled with some slithering guitar leads throughout, a heady spacy cocktail that is quite entrancing and loaded with effects. Pretty interesting introduction I must say. "Man" is more of a classic vocal oriented song with some existential message about the state of the human condition (or rather the inhuman condition), with relatively sparse acoustic guitar accompaniment, exploding halfway into an edgier percussion-laden platform for a searing multi-level guitar solo that expresses all what needs to be said, a synth bridge keeps the balance together until then gentle outro.."Judgment Day" offers up more odd effects and atmospherics, evolving into a harsher rant, with a slight schizo slant, somewhat corny lyrics about St- Peter and judgment day but nevertheless remaining a pleasant listen with a sleek female vocal intervention. By the middle, it starts evolving into slightly more complex environments, with waves of burping bass, dangling percussives, plaintive wailing voices, synthesizer rumbles and a certain expansive feel. A superbly surly Hillage-ian guitar exploration takes this even further into the vortex of sound, a fine example of a so-so debut transforming itself into a monster track. "Dreams" is more spacy pop, with dreamy guitar bellows, more Floyd than prog, heightened by a cool axe solo that attempts originality rather convincingly by evolving the background into some very electronic space with some splendid synth work, over which the guitar can then explore even further. The whole point of prog is taking some simple ditty and flinging it instrumentally into the farthest reaches of creative playing. "World Reveal" luxuriates in more spacy confines, beginning nicely and quickly turning into an almost intergalactic-boogie with Manhattan Transfer-like jazzy vocals, bizarre really with a baby crying , , a wondrous extended electric guitar foray , swooning synth patterns as a counterweight but ultimately a fun ride ."Starry Night" starts off gain like a song (this does seem to be the recipe here) but here the mighty choir mellotron makes a huge impression, intertwined with some searching guitar sorties and an insidious synthesizer parallel. Berre delivers a series of sumptuous solos here that just fit perfectly with the massed male voice choir. I am a sucker for this so.. I am hooked. "Urban Flight Delight" gets a tad nasty with synthesized e-piano and kookie guitar vying for space, organ sheets a la Floyd and a general feeling of sameness starts creeping in, a little formulaic by now, realizing that all the previous pieces are just variations on the same theme. The record goes on like this to the end, very well-done, but with some magic missing, its called song craft , because really the playing is first rate, though a little added violin, sax, oboe, flute would have made this so much more enjoyable. The intention was there, a good mix of Camel, Floyd and some of the newer bands but this will never garner maximum accelerated accreditation. I am still pretty happy with this purchase though, because of the fab soloing . 3.5 retro-stars
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3,5 stars actually...

RETROHEADS are a new band/project,found in Oslo,Norway by multi-instrumentalist Tore Bo Bendixen in 2003.Gathering no less than five musicians,Tore composed the songs for RETROHEADS' first release between August of 03' and April of 04'.This would come just a year after their formation,as the band was signed by Unicorn Records,to lead to the release of their debut ''Retrospective''.

Despite the band's name,you won't find yourself wondering if this album was recorded nowadays or sometime during the 70's.The production is very clear,the sound is quite modern and the overall atmosphere won't leave you a question,if this is a modern band or not.However,there is a fair amount of delicate mellotron with various strings and some distinctive organ parts in here to raise some memories of the past...but on top of these retro-sounds are the distorted male vocals,the ambient synths and the alternating melodic/heavy guitars to uncover the band's true time and place.All compositions are fascinating,raging from melodic symph prog to ambient keyboard music,from groovy parts with great female vocals to long instrumental soundscapes,from piano-driven ballad-like moments to heavy and complicated musicianship.The combination of these vintage and modern sounds by RETROHEADS ends to be quite succesful and their debut is a recommendable work for all lovers of both old-school and modern progressive rock.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Very nice modern sounding progressive rock with some alternative, space rock and symphonic touches. Better than most of the second tier prog bands out today. Similar to IZZ, Pink Floyd, Camel, Spock's Beard, Echolyn and Marillion though I want to stress that they are NOT a copy band. They have ... (read more)

Report this review (#110100) | Posted by dalt99 | Thursday, February 1, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Eh..and this had the potential to be something special. Certainly derivative of some of the 1970's progressive rock masters, this album started to differentiate itself with its mix of space-prog, the occasional jazzy male/female vocals, some neo-prog touches, and decent melodies. Yet, to ... (read more)

Report this review (#63133) | Posted by Squire Jaco | Wednesday, January 4, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Holy jesus! This canadian or should I say canadienne? ;) label Unicorn seems to record one jewel after another. Just finished listening to Xinema's 'Different Way' album (great!!!). Now this, Retroheads pull you back in time and this with high quality playing and compositions. The production is ... (read more)

Report this review (#40536) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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