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Mr. Brown - Mellan Tre Ögon CD (album) cover


Mr. Brown


Prog Folk

3.06 | 21 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars It still amazes me that bands like this managed to form, record, release records and disappear with so little left behind besides the music. I’ve checked for biographies or other projects from everyone in this band to no avail. I can tell you that Håkan Andersson went on to win three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League; Bo Carlberg is a cardiologist at Umea University Hospital in Sweden; Kjell Johnsson is head of Denel Saab Aerostructures in South Africa; Lars Meding writes jingles for companies who publish language-learning materials; Anders Nilsson is a professional drag-car racer; Jan Peter Stråhle is a mechanical engineer in Germany; and Rovert Svensson is a professional golfer.

Okay, you have me - none of them do those things. And no – those people aren’t the same guys as the ones who were in this band. That was the best I could do surfing the web to find information about this album though. Really odd. Usually at least one or two members of even obscure seventies progressive bands end up in some other band of note at some point. But not these guys, or if any of them did they must have changed their names.

But on the other hand this isn’t a pivotal paragon of progressive purity either, so maybe that played into the equation a bit. The trappings of seventies music are here, it’s just that none of it is new, a lot of it isn’t progressive, and most has obvious roots in the band’s various influences (Pink Floyd, Ambrosia, even Tom Petty). Props for the album cover though – is that guy’s head what I think it is?

This album apparently was originally released in 1977, just on the outer edge of the decade in which new progressive music could still get published and supported. These guys just missed that boat. There are several CD versions available today, but I believe the 2006 Transubstans disc is the only ‘legitimate’ one. Transubstans describes the music as “symphonic prog in the same school as Focus and Swedish legends Kaipa and with a singer that's been compared with bigshots like Justin Hayward, Roger Waters and Bob Dylan”. Don’t be fooled. There are snippets of Pink Floyd, particularly in the keyboards on “Universe”, but I don’t think that qualifies as a valid Roger Waters comparison. Not sure where the Justin Hayward reference came from unless it is for the brief piano snippet “Tornet” that might be construed as sounding just a little bit Moody Blues-like in the same way that any female folk singer sounds just a little bit Sandy Denny-like, but nothing more. Kaipa was a similar type of band that made accessible music with symphonic rock leanings but an overall mainstream feel, so that is not an untrue claim by the label. And I guess Focus refers to “Kharma 74” which I could see being considered Focus-like, but just barely.

Actually if I had to point to another band to describe this one I think I would choose the Flower Kings. Not that Mr. Brown sounds a whole lot like them, but there seems to be the same spirit of acknowledging seventies prog dinosaurs by emulating their sounds in an easily digestible, almost AOR format. These guys just did it while the real progressive bands were still in existence as opposed to fifteen years later.

There are some vocals but not a lot, and those are a mix of Swedish ones I can’t understand and English ones that aren’t too clever or meaningful. On “Liv I Stad Utan Liv” there’s even some soundboard-manipulated harmonizing that sounds a bit like a horror movie soundtrack, but one of those satire horror films like ‘Another Teen Movie’. There is some decent guitar on that track though.

In all this is an average offering from a forgotten band who’s reissued CD is overpriced in my opinion. Unless you really have a hankering for discovering unheard of seventies bands, I’d recommend skipping on this one. Two stars and tepidly recommended to really serious collectors.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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