Formed in 1999, this premier Norwegian band lights up the progressive rock genre with this superfine and expertly produced studio album, where the old school prog playbook is given a bit of an uplift, especially since the band casts a gleaming persona into these multifaceted works. Sure, glimpses of Gentle Giant and classic-era Genesis weave into various movements. However, Wobbler interlaces a multitude of rhythmic and melodic aspects into these memorable compositions, combining ethereal, windblown dreamscapes with tenacious ensemble work and multi-instrumentalist Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo's lighthearted vocals.
Consisting of harmonious riffs and sprawling polyrhythmic time signatures, the ensemble paints a cogent outlook, marked by guileful arrangements and shifting paradigms that make near perfect sense. Essentially, the musicians avoid all semblances of overkill, as soloing spots usually emphasize a primary theme or an improv-based reconstruction passage. They also integrate lovely Scandinavian folk aspects into the big picture along with keyboardist Lars Fredrik Frøislie's ambient mellotron phrasings that broaden thriving finales or explosive breakouts.
They go for the gusto from the onset of the opening track "From Silence to Somewhere," sparked by Frøislie's fluid organ lines atop a bustling ostinato pulse, hymnal-like vocal choruses, stately motifs and guest artist Ketil Vestrum Einarsen's plush flute lines. Whereas, "Fermented Hours" is another epic-like piece designed with a pulsating groove, regal hooks, and endearing vocals that segues into a ballad with sweeping backdrops as they paint a musical canvass with polytonal shadings, executed at various cadences. And they finalize the presentation with majestic and melodious storylines amid joyful vocals and a powerful rite of passage during "Foxlight." Throughout, Wobbler tenders a refresher course on the finer elements of modern progressive rock along with a few nods to the forefathers who set the table for future expansion. * Passionately recommended.
From Silence To Somewhere; Rendered In Shades Of Green; Fermented Hours; Foxlight.
Andreas Wettergreen Strømman Prestmo: vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, glockenspiel,
percussion, brass bell, children's toy; Marius Halleland: 6- & 12-string acoustic & electric guitars,
backing vocals; Lars Fredrik Frøislie: Hammond C3, Mellotron, MiniMoog mod. D, Chamberlin,
Hohner clavinet, Rhodes MkII, spinet, ARP Axxe/Pro Soloist, Solina String Ensemble, Optigan,
Wurlitzer 200, Marxophone, grand piano, backing vocals; Kristian Karl Hultgren: bass, bass pedals,
woodwinds; Martin Nordrum Kneppen: drums, woodwinds. With - Ketil Vestrum Einarsen: flute
(1,4); Renato Manzi: old man's voice (3); Øystein Bech Gadmar: crumhorn (4).