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Meer: Playing House

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Meer: Playing House
Billed as an alternative progressive pop unit, this Norwegian octet skirts progressive rock territory as well. And from a qualitative perspective, the band executes the pop-related choruses with a college education. Lead singers Johanne-Margrethe Kippersund Nisdal (female) and Knut Kippersund-Nedsaf (male) alternate and coalesce throughout these radiantly melodic pieces embedded with strings, keys, guitars, and a rhythm section amid symphonic shadings, quirky segues, kaleidoscopic themes and more.

With strong compositional frameworks, sparkling arrangements and good cheer, the album seamlessly flows into a wonderland via the band's resilient and at times, power-packed delivery. The band spins a broad wall of sound, tinted with progressive rock-like passages and soft, ethereal vocals that sail with the wind due to Asa Ree's nimble violin plucking and wistful subplots, leading to a brisk pulse sprinkled with harmonious lines.

It's a full-bodied production with background EFX treatments, streaming strings, and shadowy colorizations. Yet, "Honey" features Mats Lillehaug's thumping rock beats in concert with a synth bass ostinato, followed by Johanne Kippersund Nesdal's pensive iterations atop driving beats, while building a bit of tension along the way, joined by Knut Kippersund Nesdal's vocalese, and flourishing toward a straight-four rock groove. Akin to other tracks, the musicians dole out memorable hooks, salving strings overlays and poignant lyricism that progresses with the imagery of a late-night tale, narrated with the lights out.

The final piece, "Lay IT Down," features animated vocal deliveries along with a cinematic-framed prog motif, complete with impassioned choruses and weaving strings. Once again, the band's trump card is ingrained with song-oriented works and not gymnastic prog breakouts. Fans of the British ensemble Big Big Train, and in a more general capacity, connoisseurs of art rock and progressive pop should discover gratifying qualities throughout this delightful gem of an album. It's an archetypal breath of fresh air that provides additional value during repeated listens.

Track Listing

Picking Up The Pieces; Beehive; All At Sea; Songs of Us; Child; You Were A Drum; Honey; Across The Ocean; She Goes; Where Do We Go From Here; Lay It Down.

Personnel

Knut Kippersund Nesdal: voice / vocals; Johanne-Margrethe Kippersund Nesdal: voice / vocals; Eivind Strømstad: guitar; Asa Ree: violin; Ingvild Nordstoga Eide: viola; Ole Gjøstøl: piano; Morten Stypet: bass; Mats Lillehaug: drums.

Additional Instrumentation

Knut Kippersund Nesdal: keyboards; Eivind Strømstad : electric baritone guitar, mandolin, keyboards; Ole Gjøstøl; keybords, programming, electric organ, glockenspiel, backing vocals; Ingvild Nordstoga Eide: backing vocals; Asa Ree: percussion and backing vocals; Morten Stypet: backing vocals; Mats Lillehaug: backing vocals.

Album information

Title: Playing House | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Karisma Records

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