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Fruitcake - Room For Surprise CD (album) cover





3.76 | 48 ratings

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5 stars Fruitcake from Norway is progressive rock's favorite slug. With a sound that slow, plump and stiff, the band still manages to carry its own house across numerous moments of fine moody progressive rock. Drummer, leads-singer and composer Pål Søvik has been the bands only remaining member throughout several line-up changes since the early nineties. The band has this typic organ-sound the most will recognize from Genesis' 'Watcher of the Skies'. The vocals by Pål Søvik are quite dopey and sound untrained, yet his performance can be quite charming and unique during slower, less demanding songs. Fruitcake can find some truly original or grasping melodies, simply because other bands haven't even started thinking of creating such simple beautiful lines. Furthermore, the Nordic and slightly isolated / lonesome / 'living somewhere out there' sound of the band makes it instantly recognizable. Yet I wouldn't have place them under neo-prog, more like minimalist symphonic prog.

On 'Room for Suprises' the Fruitcake formula works best for me. The band focuses on their slow-paced, minimalist and melancholy song-writing in which I think they are most effective. The opening song 'Time to Go' with its haunting organ-sound and tragic synth lead is one of my all-time favorite moody songs and it couldn't get less optimistic than this post-war reflection ('we sometimes win / but always loose / welcome to this game'). 'Keep The Light', a balled written and sung (dopey in her own way) by female keyboardist Siri M Seland is another slow-paced melancholy highlight. The title song 'Room for Suprises' opens with this very minimalist bass-guitar and organ interplay and some slow vocals by Pål Søvik. Yet Fruitcake manages to launch this very urgent and exciting middle section that somehow really benefits from the minimalist treatment of the rest of the song.

Jens G. Sverdrup is perhaps the least exciting guitar-player that Fruitcake ever had, but his timid playing and fine solo's fits the unique Fruitcake-atmosphere best in my opinion ? it allows for complete focus on the moving organ/synth parts. After this record the band would make two pumped-up albums with a masterful new guitar-player, whilst shaking off some of the melancholy charm that made this album such a hit for me.

I had originally written a three star review for this album, but since I've been returning to it (before missing it all of the sudden) for years now with much pleasure I'm going to give it a full score ? apparently this melancholy album is essential to me.

friso | 5/5 |


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