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Pingvinorkestern - Push CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

4.61 | 12 ratings

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5 stars Another submission of quirky avant music that people are allowing to be included into the "progressive rock" genre with similarities to Humble Grumble, UneXpect, Atomic Ape, FreddeGredde, Major Parkinson, Utopianisti, Knifeworld, and even the modern Univers Zero. Like so many of today's bands it's as they're trying to pack nine minutes of music, story, and emotion into four minute songs. Is this the new prog? Of all these groups--which are all very talented, very tight, and very entertaining--this is probably my favorite. The album's format kind of runs in an alternating style: quirky instrumental alternated by emotional vocal ballad. The quirky music is fun and interesting--often 1980s KING CRIMSON/THE POLICE/ROBERT FRIPP/ANDY SUMMERS-like (as on "Who Are You?")--but it is the excellent vocals--especially those of Suzanne "Suz" Johansson--that lift this album out of the pool of run-of-the-mill avant prog artists. Suzanne's singing is extraordinary. Her variety of styles is dizzying. Suzanne can sing like Annie Lennox, Ruth- Anne Boyle (OLIVE), Siobhan De Mare (MONO, VIOLET INDIANA) as in "Who Are You?" (4:08) (9/10) or she can sing delicate background harmonies to RICHARD SINCLAIR-like male vocalist Mats "Ldder" Fredriksson as on the emotional folk noir heartbreaker, "As Hard As They Come" (5:22) (10/10) and the pastoral "Me and The Wave" (7:18) (10/10). Or she croon a lead like a 1950s torch singer la Patricia Kaas, k.d. lang, or Anne Pigalle as on "In Too Deep" (6:10) (9/10). Another vocalist I find her styling versatilities comparable to is Marit Elisabeth Svendsbe, formerly of the extraordinary experimental pop rock band from Norway, FUNIN. "Mood Swings" (5:19) (9/10) is very much in the Ruth-Anne Boyle/Annie Lennox department. On "The First Light" (5:33) (10/10) I could swear I was listening to the masterful artistry of Elaine di Falco (Thinking Plague, Yugen, Empty Days). Amazing song! There are several songs here that have very strong folk/traditional leanings, like "As Hard As They Come," the NORTH SEA RADIO ORCHESTRA-like "A Post Card from Copenhagen" (3:27) (9/10) and the blues-rock tinged "Me and The Wave," while others are very jazzy, including "You Got a Light, Mac?" (3:19) (9/10) and the hilarious, "Creepy" (1:44) (10/10), and others are comedie noire theatric like "Madame Else's Genuine Flea Circus" (3:33) (8/10), "Alfred The Clown and His Highly Trained Poodles" (3:45) (8/10), and the spy movie theme song, "No, But I've Got a Dark Brown Overcoat" (2:08) (9/10). Overall, this is album takes the listener on quite a wild ride--like going through the amusement park's best spook house thrill rides. I have to say, though I'm not sure how prog this album is (though there are some Prog Folk and Canterbury moments), this is one of my favorite albums of 2014.

4.5 stars rated up for refreshing originality, outstanding vocal performances, as well as for its wonderful entertainment value. Definitely one of the most surprising and best albums of the year!

BrufordFreak | 5/5 |


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