Norwegian band Atlanter creates a brew of rock which in the words of the accompanying promo is ‘inspired by desert blues, by German krautrock and by old delta blues. All this is done with a Norwegian twist and point of view, and is perhaps best described as Norwegian mountainblues.’ This may be so but the most important and accurate description you need is that their sound is a warm and vibrate dance on the senses and imagination which is at ease with either a muscular or melodically seductive gait, and even more so at combining the two in a blaze of inventive and inspiring enterprise.
Atlanter was formed by vocalist/guitarist Jens Carelius and guitarist Arild Hammerø, two artists not strangers to acclaim and success with their solo work; Caerlius with his albums The First Songs (2008), The Beat Of The Travel (2009), and The Architect (2011), and folk singer Hammerø through his releases Dagen Som Gryr of 2008, Flåte of 2012 which saw him alongside Daniel Herskedal under the name Hammer & Hersk, and as part of the electronica duo Ost & Kjex. Joined by drummer Jonas Barsten Johnsen (CCTV, Frøy Aagre, Disaster in the Universe) and bassist Morten Kvam (Jens Carelius, Siri Nilsen and a number of jazz ensembles), the Oslo quartet has in new album Vidde created a sultry fire of folk rock and progressive seduction which transports the listener into the arms of a blues and desert rock expanse. It is a powerfully persuasive release which lays down a landscape also employing a wind of American country rock which shows how varied and full it is, especially when you add in the darker tones of shadows found in Helldorado and the spiritually psychedelic whispers of Spirits Of The Dead which also place a rich caress on the impressive release.
From the opener Tree Song there feels a freedom and loose spirit to the release which makes each encounter a new venture and one assumes live a continually evolving proposition. From its undefined intro a guitar begins coaxing the ear though soon joined by a moody and vibrant bass call and instantly exciting drum temptation. Vocal harmonies reservedly add to the ambience soon after to charm out full attention which is then rewarded by the catchy imaginative shuffle, drums and bass remaining in their already hypnotic stance, and the joint delivery of Carelius and Hammerø making for a richly pleasing combination vocally and musically. There is constantly little and larger things going on in the song, every second an adventure within an adventure which intrigues and captivates from start to finish. It is a scintillating beginning which leaves a flavour enriched appetite fully awoken.
Both Aye and Kaktos continue to feed that emerged hunger with ease, the first another different but near riotous folk clad boogie through the ear with an energy and passion that fidgets magnetically throughout driven by the again outstanding rhythmic temptation of Barsten Johnsen. With the guitars teasing notes into picturesque descriptions to paint thoughts and the vocals equally as potent, the track is an immense imaginative lure to which full involvement is inevitable. Its successor then wraps a shimmering rich western tone to its body, that Helldorado reference coming into play as the tale unfolding engulfs thoughts into a sultry picture of emotive and reflective intensity. As its predecessors the track is a glorious creative and infectious fire to dive often for an ever expanding experience.
After the brief acoustic call of Air, an ok track but pale compared to what came before, the album re-grips full attention with the excellent guitar twanged and sculpted mystique of More Juice Than Zeus and the exotic almost Eastern climes of Pike. Both tracks steer emotions to the door of the place the opening trio of songs forged, if without crossing the threshold, whilst the pulsating melodic and sonic kisses of Waking push emotions that little further into rapture.
Completed by the elegantly shaped instrumental Ling and the rawer countryesque Desert, the album is a thrilling companion to ear and thoughts. Admittedly its first half outweighs its second in irresistibility but from the opening poke of the ear to the last expressive note of Vidde, Atlanter immerse the listener in spellbinding enjoyment. Hopefully the Jansen Plateproduksjon released album is just the start for the band as it could be very easy to get used to this type of aural escapade.
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