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LANDBERK

Heavy Prog • Sweden


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Landberk biography
LANDBERK is one of Sweden's darkest bands. Their sound is sombre and almost mournful. There is a subtle balance between the Mellotron sounds, the guitar parts and vocals full of melancholy and the rhythm gaps from bass and drums. Evoking KING CRIMSON KING to GENTLE GIANT.

"Riktig Äkta" (Swedish vocals) is an absolute brilliant album and strongly recommend it to fans of the Scandinavian scene. "Lonely Land" features a brave cover version of T2's classic "No More White Horses", and it's an all-round winner! Contrastingly, "One Man Tells Another" steps on to more KING CRIMSON styled realms, like a less complex more direct ÄNGLAGÅRD. Subsequent albums mellowed somewhat.

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Indian summerIndian summer
1996
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LANDBERK discography


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LANDBERK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.58 | 56 ratings
Riktigt Äkta
1992
3.56 | 66 ratings
Lonely Land
1992
3.74 | 66 ratings
One Man Tells Another
1994
3.57 | 87 ratings
Indian Summer
1996

LANDBERK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.41 | 18 ratings
Unaffected
1995

LANDBERK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

LANDBERK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

LANDBERK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.27 | 12 ratings
Jag är tiden
1994
3.12 | 6 ratings
Dream Dance
1995

LANDBERK Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Indian Summer  by LANDBERK album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.57 | 87 ratings

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Indian Summer
Landberk Heavy Prog

Review by VOTOMS

4 stars Another time, swedish music makes me proud. No, I'm not from Sweden.

Medicine can take away depression, but I still can understand this dark feeling. Years ago, The Cure, Joy Division and Katatonia would describe my inner self. Indian Summer is the last Landberk album. This album is sad. And is not for everyone. Maybe not so prog. Absolutely not the progressive Landberk of the early albums. Mellotron and keys are smooth and deep. This work does not focus on skills and technical passages, it's atmospherical, filled with harmonious beautiful chords and vocals. Reccomended to post punk, post rock, and Anedokten-like stuff" fans.

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 Riktigt Äkta  by LANDBERK album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.58 | 56 ratings

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Riktigt Äkta
Landberk Heavy Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This was LANDBERK's first studio album released in 1992 the same year fellow Swedes ANGLAGARD released "Hybris". ANEKDOTEN would release "Vemod" the following year as Prog would see a comeback thanks to these Swedish bands. LANDBERK might not be as powerful as ANEKDOTEN or as complex as ANGLAGARD but they don't take a back seat to either band. These three bands make up what I call the Swedish Holy Trinity of Prog. Yes I love these bands. Back in the early nineties these three bands decided not to follow or build upon the Neo-Prog bands of the eighties(yay !), but instead went back to the source with vintage instruments including mellotron and organ. "Riktigt Akta" was also released in English and called "Lonely Land" and while it's sad that the Swedish version doesn't have "No More White Horses" on it, it does have a bonus track called "Tillbaka" which isn't on "Lonely Land" and that track has Simon Steensland playing drums on it which is pretty cool.

The track order is also different between the two versions and in fact these also "sound" a little different because they are different recordings. Maybe it's just me but singing in their own native language just makes this version sound better. "I Nattens Timma" is a melancholic and fairly slow paced haunting tune that opens with flute and features plenty of mellotron and sad vocals. Fiske is at his intricate best on guitar. "Skogsraet" is where they pickup the pace and become more dynamic in the process. Such a fantastic track including the vocals. I love the instrumental break after 3 minutes as Fiske solos in his own unique style. Nice drum work too. A calm before 4 1/2 minutes then it eventually kicks back in during the last 30 seconds. "Tradet" doesn't kick in until after 2 1/2 minutes. Some accordion in this one. I like the calm half way through the song with mellotron galore. It stays relaxed until there's about a minute left.

"Var Hall" is such a beautiful track with reserved vocals and floating organ as Fiske plays some intricate guitar. Love the mellotron 4 1/2 minutes in. Gorgeous tune. "Visa Fran Kallsedet" is an instrumental that opens with mellow guitar melodies and the song does stay laid back throughout. Check out the picked guitar after 3 minutes, it reminds me of Conny Veit when he played in POPOL VUH. "Undrar Om Ni Sir" is another mellow and melancholic piece with vocals this time. This one starts to build though halfway through as it turns instrumental. It kicks in late to end it. Nice ! The bonus track with Steensland on drums is called "Tillbaka" and it's more of an upbeat tune with plenty of mellotron and chunky bass. Vocals too in this one. Great track but too short. We get a guitar solo halfway through as well that impresses.

I have to give this 5 stars because I do think it's a step up from "Lonely Land" which I gave 4.5 stars.

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 One Man Tells Another  by LANDBERK album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.74 | 66 ratings

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One Man Tells Another
Landberk Heavy Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars A much-overlooked gem from the 90s--predating, as has been pointed out, the sounds and stylings that were soon to make Radiohead, The Gathering and Porcupine Tree popular favorites. Though I agree that this album shows a marked evolution in the band's development--less overt are the influences of KING CRIMSON (except maybe "Kontiki"), VAN DER GRAAF GENERATOR ("Valentinsong") and GENESIS--I do still feel some newer influences from different groups. On this album I am flooded with reminders of TALK TALK, THE CHURCH, and even U2.

1. "Time" (3:41) begins with a kind of U2/SIMPLE MINDS intro before settling into a POLICE- like vocal section. Singer Patric Helje's amazing chameleon-like voice hits some high notes in the chorus reminding me of some of DAVID BOWIE's greatest moments. Great drumming from Jonas LIdholm on this one (as throughout). (8/10)

2. "Kontiki" (7:18) starts out with a repetitive pulsating organ chord and a vocal that sounds a bit like Adrian Belew. It then evolves into a very soft, slow moving song with lots of sensitive subtleties of guitar, keyboards and cymbols which eventually build for the climactic final two minutes of "heaviness." Definitely some KING CRIMSON shining through with this one. (8/10)

3. "Mirror Man" (5:57) is the first of this album's great songs--and the first to display a sound rather unique to Landberk. I love the jazzy SWING OUT SISTER strut from 2:13 to 2:59. The highlight for me, aside from the delicate guitar throughout, is the jazzy last 1:30--especially when Reine's guitar goes into scratchy feedback. Plus Helje's final phrase and note. (9/10)

4. "You Are" (6:03) is the first song I've heard from Patric Helje in which I hear quite distinctly the voice of ICEHOUSE's lead singer, IVA DAVIES. Great atmosphere--not unlike that of ICEHOUSE--beginning at 1:30. I love Reine Fiske's traveling guitar feedback: cycling back and forth from channel to channel during the third minute. Then it comes front and center (with some harmonics floating around behind) for a very cool yet delicate solo. Startlingly sudden ending! (9/10) 5. "Rememberance" (6:35) sounds like a walk through the realm of Steven Kilbey's THE CHURCH with the syncopated drumming style of STEVE JANSEN. The bass is so mesmerizing on this one--and Patric Helje's vocal is so smooth and powerful! I love the additional percussion in the second B section. Quite reminiscent of PETER MURPHY's song "Roll Call." (9/10)

6. "Valentinsong" (9:38) is so delicately nuanced (it predicts much of Reine Fiske's influence and contributions to PAATOS's first album, Timeloss) that I could listen to it over and over. Space and harmonic sustain and decay are the champions of this song. (10/10)

7. The album's real jewel, however, is the finale: "Tell" (8:36) Beginning with such raw, exposed guitar conveys such tremendous emotion. When Stefan Dimle's bass enters toward the end of the second minute, and then Fiske turns to those slow, distorted chords! And then the entrance of the 'tron! Then guitar feedback like only Hendrix ever mastered! I tell you people, Reine Fiske is an absolute genius! Then the amazingly catchy BONO/KILBEY-like vocal sucks you in even deeper (as if that was even possible!). At 5:27 we are treated to a section of raw emotion that has even more impact! I mean: How much adrenaline can a body produce in the space of six minutes?!! But wait! The final minute gut-punches you again with a pause (Is it over?) and then play out with keyboard wildly perambulating around the sonic horizon. (11/10. Best song of 1994, IMHO!).

I've grown accustomed to favoring the band's final album together as their masterpiece, but this one is, to my mind and ears, also worthy of that designation. I get so enmeshed in the work of astounding genius Reine Fiske that I might find it difficult to be more objective about the value of Landberk's contributions to the world of (progressive) music. But, again, this album is so engaging, so emotional, so inimitable, and such a glowing example of the fact that there is/was a Prog Renaissance going on in the 1990s that I can only bump this 4.5 star album up to masterpiece level.

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 One Man Tells Another  by LANDBERK album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.74 | 66 ratings

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One Man Tells Another
Landberk Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

2 stars After a confident emergence onto the scene with the lovely Riktigt Äkta/Lonely Land, Landberk seemed to hit a bit of a sophomore slump with this one. Indeed, part of me wonders whether this is to blame for them being rather overlooked these days as far as Swedish prog groups originating in the early 1990s go - whilst Anglagard, Anekdoten and The Flower Kings both did a good job of building on the sound of their debuts, Landberk chase down blind alleys here.

I think the most exasperating thing about the album is the way Landberk seem determined to repeat mistakes which their influences already made. Take, for instance, Valentinsong, which contains a long minimalistic section which absolutely robs the composition - and the album as a whole - of any and all momentum it has previously established, and isn't even especially good as far as minimalistic avant-garde pieces go.

It's been compared to Moonchild by King Crimson, often cited as the only real flaw with their debut album (an assessment which Robert Fripp himself seems to agree with, if the trimming down of the section in question on recent remasters is anything to go by), and that's no accident, because it's tremendously similar in approach to that piece. In fact, for much of the album King Crimson worship is in full effect, but when that worship extends to repeating experiments which didn't work and in retrospect were clearly mistakes when the Crims tried them, that's a mimicry too far in my book.

Despite not quite sounding like Crimson clones, it's clear that Landberk here do several goofy things not because they necessarily sound good, but because King Crimson did them previously. When their debut album was so wonderfully original, I've got to view that as a serious step down.

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 Lonely Land  by LANDBERK album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.56 | 66 ratings

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Lonely Land
Landberk Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The other major Swedish prog revival group of the early 1990s, Landberk always seemed to be a bit overshadowed by Anekdoten, Anglagard and The Flower Kings, which is a shame because this debut album of theirs is an intriguing beast to say the least. I particularly like Stefan Dimle's work on bass here; the band seem particularly adept at setting up long sections in which the rhythm section set up this groove which harks back to the motorik rhythms of the classic-era Krautrock groups, providing an interesting foundation for the other performers to build on with their solos. Simon Nordberg's use of Mellotron also deserves props because it helps give the album its uniquely spooky atmosphere, and sets a precedent for the excellent Morte Macabre side project.

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 One Man Tells Another  by LANDBERK album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.74 | 66 ratings

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One Man Tells Another
Landberk Heavy Prog

Review by Guldbamsen
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

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 [%*!#] - 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.

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 Indian Summer  by LANDBERK album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.57 | 87 ratings

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Indian Summer
Landberk Heavy Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

5 stars Reine Fiske is a genius. He plays guitar unlike anyone I've ever heard--on a par with maestro Jeff Beck and the late and, sadly, much obscured blues axeman, Roy Buchanan. Fiske and Beck are similar in the way that the two create astoundingly beautiful and totally unexpected soundscapes with the same implement that all other musicians who claim to play guitar use. The answer to the riddle: What makes them so different? must be that Reine Fiske and Jeff Beck must be gods--or, at the very least, not of the same Earth/human substance as all other guitarists. Seriously: Check out this player. He is a player of a totally different ilk. Indian Summer is my favorite Landberk album, despite some odd familiarity--especially in the vocals (at times I hear striking similarities to ICEHOUSE, THE CHURCH, INXS, and DAVID SYLVIAN). This album shows maturity and, yes, autonimity; they've really come into their own sound. It started with the end of One Man Tells Another--the brilliant "Tell." Indian Summer starts out by hooking you in with the catchy "Humanize" (8/10) but then lags a bit with the next two songs: slightly monotonous, Icehouse/Church-like. "I Wish I Had a Boat" (8/10) picks it back up again in a very David Sylvian-sounding 'avant- ambient'-like way. "Dustgod" (9/10) combines the earlier Icehouse/Church sound and feel with the Sylvian-ness in a brilliant way. "Dreamdance" (9/10) shows off some absolutely amazing guitar playing/styling (all songs on which genius Reine Fiske participates are worth a closer listen, but this one puts his uniquity right in your face). Then comes my favorite, the eight-minute gem called "Why Do I Still Sleep?" with its masterfully delicate guitar stoking and the surprise female vocalist pleading the song title to us at the end. Yeah, with all the crap going on in the world, why do I still sleep? Or, as Jonathan Wilson put it only this yeart, Can we really party today? The finale, the delicate Pat Metheny/New Chatauqua-like title song (6/10) is frankly a bit of a let down. While not a 5 star masterpiece of prog music, this is an excellent album that I highly recommend. And don't forget Reine Fiske's other projects: Morte Macabre, the first Päatos album (Timeloss), Dungen, and The Amazing. They're all worth checking out.

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 Jag är tiden by LANDBERK album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1994
3.27 | 12 ratings

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Jag är tiden
Landberk Heavy Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars A mixed bag even for the Swedish-speaking population.

I haven't actually began exploring Landberk until recently, even though they are my countrymen and have been around for quite some time now. This three track EP was in fact my introduction to the band and features Landberk performing some of the tracks off One Man Tells Another in their native language. Both Jag Är Tiden and Du Är are easily the highlights here, which might explain why they both of the compositions made it two the full length studio album. Still, I can't say that the Swedish vocals bring anything worth a while to the already well-known compositions, except maybe for the fact that Jag Är Tiden roughly translates to I Am The Time and not Time, as it's titled in English.

Some might argue that the native vocals make these songs more personal since Patric Helje is known for having a dialect whenever he performs in English. Unfortunately, all the pros are overshadows by the fact that the Swedish lyrics are just hideous whenever I actively try listening to them. The most extreme example comes on the song Marie & Anna, which does have a nice groove to it whenever I completely ignore the lyrical context.

Landberk haven't exactly made me excited about their work after hearing this EP. I've certainly learned to avoid the band's Swedish speaking output, which probably means that I'll miss out on all the greatness featured on their debut release Riktigt Äkta, but I'm sure that my ears will thank me in the long run. Jag Är Tiden is a good, but non-essential piece of the mid-'90s prog revival that will probably be enjoyed by the fans of the era. Other will most certainly manage without it.

**** star songs: Jag Är Tiden (3:45) Du Är (6:05)

*** star songs: Marie & Anna (5:53)

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 Indian Summer  by LANDBERK album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.57 | 87 ratings

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Indian Summer
Landberk Heavy Prog

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars As Sinkadoten pointed out in his review, you might have to know the hardship of a yearly dark and snowy winter to capture the intense melancholy of Landberk and other Swedish acts. Well, I'm not sure if that's true, an unhappy childhood might do the trick as well :) Besides, even a sunny fellow like me adores them.

Right, Landberk have come quite a way in just a few years. Starting as a symphonic prog unit that rode on the waves of the Swedish prog revival, they turned into an innovative rock combo with strong Talk Talk influences that can be heard right from the opening seconds. Apart from an addiction to mellotrons and woolly trousers there's little here that betrays any of their traditional prog roots. Even on a long piece like All Around Me, the band sounds more like a 90's continuation of Joy Division then like anything heavy or prog.

The musicianship is very strong though. It's very laid-back and austere, Landberk never goes for big gestures but shines at understatement. The drums and bass have a solid presence and while they never dominate, they drive most songs forward. The vocals of Patric Helje are very melodious and sensitive, they sit somewhere inbetween Bono and Tom Yorke. Not a bad place to be really, especially as he stays clear of pop oriented melodies. The bright star in this unit must be Reine Fiske. His unique guitar playing always stands out and provides that craving and almost hesitating tone in Landberk's dim and bare sound.

The song writing is dazzling throughout but might not appeal to you if you're not into minor chords and desolate spaces. Of course it's highly recommended to all fans of Anekdoten, Joy Division, Talk Talk, Paatos, Morte Macabre and other cheery folks. 4.5 stars

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 One Man Tells Another  by LANDBERK album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.74 | 66 ratings

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One Man Tells Another
Landberk Heavy Prog

Review by Bonnek
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

5 stars Landberk's second album is entirely different from the debut. Gone are the in-your-face King Crimson, VDGG and Genesis influences. Some of these influences are still present below the surface, but they are wrought into something that is entirely Landberk's own style. An immense growth, in just two years this band has become as original as their cover art.

Time incorporates flavors of melancholic indie rock, sounding like Radiohead before Radiohead sounded like this themselves. The vocals have a very distinct timbre that comes close to U2's Bono, but it is more subtle and sensitive. There's a slightly funky vibe to the main guitar theme, it's delicate, simple but most effective and adds a slightly uplifting quality to the beautiful melancholy of this song. It's 3.40 minutes and simply stunning.

Also Kontiki goes beyond the tried and true prog paths of the debut. New music is created here, featuring a slowly grinding organ and bittersweet emotive vocals. After 2 minutes, the track changes into the smoky atmospheres of a jazz bar at 5 o'clock in the morning. It's very soft and gloomy and demands patient listening. When Landberk collapsed after the next album, the bass and guitar player formed Paatos. The dreamy ambience of the best Paatos songs is not far away here.

Mirror Man is basically a lullaby, brought with that fragile melancholy again. No wonder Sweden produces so much gloomy music if babies are brought up on this. The focus on this album is on the vocals and Reine Fiske's unique guitars. There's so much feel and yearning in his playing, You Are is a fine example. He is so far ahead of his contemporaries, probably being one of the first to incorporate the post-rock experimentation of Talk Talk into progressive rock music. Remembrance continues the excellence and has all the potential to appeal to legions of music lovers.

Landberk's music is catchy but not always easy. Especially the softer songs like Mirror Man and Valentinsong need time to get under your skin. The sparse melancholic vocals and guitar playing is almost suggestive, Fiske never resorts to easy melodious solutions but builds up an abstract soundscape similar to electronic and kraut artists from the early 70's. At the end, the patient listener is rewarded with a minute of pure splendid beauty. Tell ends the album with a more accessible rock song, though the guitars stay willful and rebellious.

With this excellent album, the band was years ahead of its time. It is unique, creative, touching and has some of the best songwriting of that decade. Too bad the audiences were not ready for it yet. Radiohead would be more successful 3 years later. Generally, I try to stay clear of words like under-rated and over-rated, but I think the merit of this album has not been recognized. 4.5 stars, upped for the unique artwork.

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