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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 249 - 12/14/16

The Tables
Wonderland: The Greatest Adventures 1988-2003
Stroller Records

It has actually gone 13 years since their last record, but what a bliss it is to listen to The Tables again! Wonderland is a collection of (some of their) best songs between 1988-2003, and consists of 16 beautiful, whimsy, psychedelic and most of all utterly charming songs from mastermind Tore "Bartleby" Sørensen and his fellows in maybe the most underrated bands in Norway's pop history (wow!).

Most of the songs here are from the masterpiece Shady Whims and Obstacles, first released on Perfect Pop Records in 1990. The Tables' musical and lyrical expression is an unrestrained tribute to some of the more obscure artists from the 1960's psychedelic pop scene, in sharp contrast to the more contemporary music released at that time. Their mixture of beautiful two-part vocal harmonies, energetic jingle-jangle guitar, simplistic Farfisa organ and fascinating lyrics, with loads of tongue-in-cheek references to different pop classics, made way for a bunch of other similar artists in the Oslo scene, like The Time Lodgers, Astroburger and The Loch Ness Mouse, to name only a few of them. What these artists most of all had in common, was the love for beautiful pop melodies, often performed with so much charm and enthusiasm that it totally overshadowed the sometimes restrained musical or, more correctly, technical skills of the persons involved. But, even though many of their followers also released and performed perfect pop music, The Tables still stand out as the ultimate band within this genre in Norway (even if it is to be mentioned that most of the other artists probably exceeded Bartleby's English pronunciation skills by far).

The album title refers to one of the masterpieces from Shady.., namely the psychedelic "Great Adventures in Wonderland". Together with other favourites, like "Larry", "Fortean Times" and actually almost all of the tracks on this album, it makes Wonderland a classic, timeless compilation from a band which I actually feared would be a little out of fashion in 2016. For me, this has been an awaited "rendez-vous", and not only a nostalgic trip back to the nineties. To use Bartleby's own words from "My Old Hair": 'Such things are impossible to throw away...'

Copyright © 2016 Håvard Kløften e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Tables articles/reviews: Holiday At Wobbledef Grunch, Nevermynd The Hillocks (treble without a cause), Play Idle Race, See Emily Play.

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