The debut release by this electronics-based quartet from Denmark arrives with a smooth sounding formula that indicates good things ahead. The group has promise but at times over the album's 43 minutes things remain a bit too close to the title, Repeat. While there's plenty of talent in the band, drummer Michael Dalgas, guitarist Spencer Gross, bassist Soren Lund and keyboardist Lars Emil Riis haven't reached the depth of Dalgas' trio album Death of a Tree (Gateway 2020).
"Mozambique" is a pulsating opener that illustrates impressive improvisational mechanics through a nice blend of chorded computations and a slick, robo-style guitar passage by Gross. "15 Ways" builds over a solid foundation adding various accents but the song gets lost in the ambiance and basic repetition ultimately overrides a greater good.
The foursome's step-by -step formula fits more effectively on "The Long Country," which is actually the album's shortest cut. Perhaps there's a clue in that. The funky "Purple Mellow" showcases Riis' keyboard skill, adding varied tonal tidbits as Lund and Dalgas switch up the rhythmic background beats. The album wraps up on a promising note with "Atmosphere," a pleasant, piano-based coda elevated via dual themes that develop into a fine cohesive structure and prove relative simplicity can yield satisfying results.
For Hogo Fogo, that process could result in a musical mother lode, especially considering recent financial support provided by their homeland. "The money we received comes from a big pool allocated by the Danish government to kick start culture in Denmark and help artists get by," explains Dalgas. "You need to apply with a defined project and budget, and in our case we arranged a string of concerts at different venues. (Now) we can showcase ourselves and also our new music from the album."
Hogo Fogo probably haven't reached full potential yet but overall this project introduces a smooth quartet, off to a solid start in establishing their own sound. They're not there yet, but the next steps in that process should be interesting.
Mozambique; The Long Country; Big Nine; Purple Mellow; 15 Ways; Heart; Atmosphere