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THE GUARDIAN'S OFFICE

Eclectic Prog • Norway


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The Guardian's Office biography
The GUARDIAN'S OFFICE is the new band of FRUITCAKE's drummer/composer Pal SÖVIK. Their music is much like FRUITCAKE: slow, plodding and overly deliberate compositions that only rarely please. Also they tend to deliver the kind of progressive rock that was big in the seventies with a band such as URIAH HEEP, a band which also alternated heavy riffs with modest acoustic passages. Lovely tunes and songs alongside the instrumental interplay of guitar and keyboards make this a must to the many fans of FRUITCAKE and also to all those who appreciate melodic progressive rock. RECOMMENDED FOR FANS OF FRUITCAKE...!

The Guardian's Office official website

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3.57 | 13 ratings
The Guardian's Office
2002

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THE GUARDIAN'S OFFICE Reviews


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 The Guardian's Office by GUARDIAN'S OFFICE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.57 | 13 ratings

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The Guardian's Office
The Guardian's Office Eclectic Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Guardian's Office is a new project by Fruitcake drummer/composer Päl Søvik, and sounds as if it should have been released thirty years ago, although there are some modern musical references. This is an album that finds itself deep within the world of Uriah Heep, with the odd modern tinge. Much of this is down to the melodious vocals of Tony Johannessen (who also provides the keyboards) as he does his best to evoke the power and majesty of David Byron. There is a feeling throughout of being transported back in time, and I would defy anyone listening to say that it is from a modern Scandinavian outfit. The line-up is completed by Froydis Maurtvedt (bass) and Morten Eriksen (guitars).

It is an album all about melody and thoughtful tunes, guitar breaks restrained. It is an album that is full of pomp, with bass pedals being used powerfully. It is never rushed and when at times they move away from the Heep sound it is only into an area more normally associated with classic Genesis. It is timeless and sees no point in rushing to get to the end. The length of the album also hearkens back to older times as it is only about forty-five minutes long, yet contains eight songs (Flower Kings please take note ? this is the way to do it!).

Great artwork by Stephen Trodd yet again points back to the golden age of prog, and while this would benefit from being as 12" vinyl release with a gatefold cover that seems to be almost a churlish comment to make. A classic album that I have enjoyed immensely.

Originally appeared in Feedback #73, Jun 03

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 The Guardian's Office by GUARDIAN'S OFFICE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.57 | 13 ratings

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The Guardian's Office
The Guardian's Office Eclectic Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars I am testing the Norwegian water again.

This is a sideproject of Pal Sovik from Fruitcake and Briskeby Records. A man who also did some of the production for Rush when they played Njard hallen in Oslo back in 1978. In other words, a bit of a living legend. It is a pity that he is as difficult to find as a Scottish wildcat. Yes, I have tried to get hold of him for one of my now infamous interview sheets...... also known as the ProgArchive Inquisition.

Anyway, back to this band who only released one album. And it is a good album too. It is deeply rooted in the Norwegian prog rock sound from the 1970s. Hoest, Aunt Mary & co springs to mind. This album is more of a heavy prog album than eclectic prog album though. Anyway # 2, all the songs are good and this is a very solid album. The guitars are soaring, the melodies are complex and the vintage tangents adds a lot of texture to the sound. The vocals are accented, but great. Loser In The Sunset is the best song here. Unfortunate for the band, it was released fifteen years before the Norwegian prog rock scene became pretty fashionable around the world. It is therefore hardly anything more than a footnote. That's a great shame.

This is a good album with the typical Scandinavian sound which may be the right ticket for those of you into this sound.

3 stars

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 The Guardian's Office by GUARDIAN'S OFFICE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.57 | 13 ratings

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The Guardian's Office
The Guardian's Office Eclectic Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars While I do enjoy most Fruitcake albums, leader Pal Sovik took the astute decision to have some fun and progress into a different zone and see what happens with his The Guardian's Office (cool name, no?). Its mostly an interesting ride, taking all kinds of liberties with the prog envelope as exemplified by the hardrocking opener "Hit the Ground", a romping piece of excellence that emanates aromas of Uriah Heep, Spooky Tooth and similar hard prog blues adventurists. Guitarist Morten Eriksen introduces some nifty oblique, at times thunderous lines, thus consecrating the prog element succinctly. Keyboardist Tony Johannessen has a stellar voice to tackle such ballsy material (nice Gillan screech), in fact his softer timbres are equally engaging to the point of charming as on the occasionally somber "Dark Girl", a woozy mini-epic that suddenly explodes into a fat, steamy and deliberate groove propelled by a monster bass. The Sovik drums keep things focused, the slithering synths carve out all kinds of deep sinews and the mood is exhilarating. The mellow guitar cradles the arrangement perfectly, a paragon of class. "Play of Your Life" gets back to the rockier side but in a more playful mode than the icebreaking opening tune. This is perhaps a more lumbering track but it grows on you mostly due to the amazing singing and the way the band stretches out the theme with some driving interludes (another cool synth solo as well as some more unusual guitar phrasings ), very original but not as luscious as the first two numbers. "The Room Below" oozes into a different sonic expanse; amazing bass-pedal work usher in a raunchy affair with guitar slashes front and center, more quality vocals and a synthesized funeral mid-section with a blisteringly effective solo. The last segment is almost space rock, a Hawkwind lead guitar barrage (short and sweet) doing the damage. The purely instrumental "Office of Hard Cash" is another highlight winner, a simple riff with minimum effort and the various opportunities to wander into a groove (good idea!), a medieval-sounding synth lament only heightens the overall feel, far from complex or polyrhythmic, it's just plain good. Thousand dollar track! "Loser in the Sunset" reverts to a glorious theme (what a chorus!) that is immediately infectious, a charming piece of power prog boogie, synths ablaze again, the axe fretting sweaty and Tony crooning nicely. Excitedly repetitive yet brilliant, as if to hammer the thought home. But the next one is the killer, picture this: a succulently droning bass pedal motif, a sublime guitar lead , Mason-esque drum beat , hurried into harder realms with crunchy ornamentations , a tremendous musical feast. The closer is all about the Guardian, a Tresspass-era Genesis style ballad with the obligatory eloquent synth excursion, a small guitar foray, more of them bass pedal garnishes and a really cool vocal. This little offshoot Fruitcake project is a winner that deserves its place in a prog collection, especially if Scandinavian prog is your forte. 4 sentinel desks from Norge.

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 The Guardian's Office by GUARDIAN'S OFFICE, THE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.57 | 13 ratings

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The Guardian's Office
The Guardian's Office Eclectic Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars THE GUARDIAN'S OFFICE is the brain-child of FRUITCAKE drummer Pal Sovik. So the drums do take a prominant role here along with the keyboard / organ work of Tony Johannessen who also is the vocalist.

Things get started with "Hit The Ground" and this song is different from all the other tracks on this album. They really let their hair down on this one, as this song would not be too out of place on DEEP PURPLE's "In Rock"album. There is even some vocal yells from Tony that are found nowhere else on the album. The guitar is great as we are treated to some angular melodies. "Dark Girl" is my favourite song on this record. The instrumental passages remind me of a cross between WOBBLER and NOEKK. Even the vocals on this song sound like the WOBBLER vocalist. This is a slower paced song with keys,acoustic guitar and organ leading the way. More angular guitar melodies later. Nice.

"Play Of Your Life" has some crisp, upfront drumming. Again i'm reminded of WOBBLER as I hear the organ playing. I'm sure I hear mellotron in this one. 6 minutes in the sound is heavenly, as organ, acoustic guitar and drums lead the way. "The Room Below" has some great GENESIS sounding keys, although i'm not a fan of the vocal style on this one as he sort of shouts out the lyrics. Some good guitar solos towards the end of the song. "Office Of Hard Cash" is an instrumental. "Loser In The Sunset" is a catchy tune with a good chorus. "Heat Of That Sound" is a good song that is on the heavy side. "The Guardian" is my second favourite song. Opening with what sounds like flute as the vocals start out reserved and get stronger as organ comes in.The song speeds up 5 minutes in.

This is a good record that has me eager to check out some of FRUITCAKE's albums. 3 stars.

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