Norway - Full Moon 165 - 02/28/10
Ancient Asobi / In Arcadia
Izakaya Heartbeat started off as a solo project of Christian Larsen with no more intention than recording an album to give to his friends. Luckily it didn't turn out that way. Ancient Asobi / In Arcadia was recorded over a 3 year period with the contributing help from several Norwegian indie artists, and as the project developed the band was put together. These guys are serious about what they do and the album is a very nice piece of work of psychedelic indie rock. There are obvious references to Sonic Youth, but both My Bloody Valentine, Motorpsycho and some of the earlier work of Blonde Redhead could give an idea of the music. But the band is obviously not genre stuck as such and the album has a nice stretch in the material.
The band has supposedly 4 guitars - each of them living their own independent life, yet all is nicely blended together. Substitute a guitar or two with the occasional synth, and then the common denominator of the album is the creation of a good massive sort of monotone hypnotic sound - a sound they perform very well. Guitars play an important role, as the opening track "Narcoleptic Highway" is a good example of. Though, don't be tempted to believe that this is 'only' a rock'n'roll album as already the second track, "Skull and Bones" takes the massive sound from the opening track a little bit more low-key, without losing any of its hypnotic feel, in fact the monotone psychedelic touch sits even better here. For me the first 6 songs got the most genuine personality, and both "Edo" and "Glass and Flowers" turned out as my immediate favourites.
Listening to the album I get curios to what this band would be on stage, as I get a feeling that a live setting could add even more nerve to a good album. Izakaya Heartbeat was picked up by the leading national radio station p3 (chosen as Ukas urørt in August 2009) which kicked off play listing and several concerts - latest at ByLarm 2010 in Oslo. Also with the release concert at John Dee late January this year, there have been several possibilities to see them live. But for some reason I didn't use any of those opportunities - so guys, as I'm probably not the only one who missed those shows, I hope there will be more live performances. This being a very solid debut album we should also hope for even further work in the studio in the future.
Copyright © 2010 Torkil Sletten