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coverpic flag Norway - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 29 - 03/02/99

Andrej Nebb
Natural
S2 / MNW Distribution

Andrej Nebb is one of the profiles of the Norwegian rock scene over the last 20 years. He left Poland, crossed the sea to Scandinavia, and ended up in Oslo back in the late 70's, just in time for the Punk/Post-punk/New Wave wave that washed Norway in those days. He formed the legendary DePress, whose album Block To Block of 1981 (alongside the brilliant 12" Lars Hertervig from the same year, both produced by New Wave sound-guru John Leckie) is one of THE classic albums and a milestone in Norwegian Rock. Still glowing with vitality and power almost 20 years later, showing the same unique quality as, say, the early albums by Buzzcocks, the Stranglers, and the Undertones.

So what about Mr. Nebb today; is he still crazy after all these years? Sure is! Andrej Nebb is a true artist, and despite a long line of recordings with his experimental group Holy Toy (plus various projects, such as the 1986 EP Fjøse, which Natural is somewhat related to) as well as attempts to re-charge DePress, he's first and foremost a painter/sculptor/performance artist these days. On Natural all the songs are sung in Norwegian (and most of it even in the traditional, dialectal "version" - you see, we've got two languages here in Norway...well, nevermind, don't ask...), a language that still seems to fascinate Andrej Nebb. He grabs ordinary and traditional words, and let them evolve within his personal lingo which makes them sound quite....different, more exotic than we could ever have imagined. Three of the songs on Natural are based on poems by the Norwegian lyric Tor Jonsson (1916-1951), which means a simple and naked style, close to, or back to nature. Like in the forceful opening song På heimveg (Going Home), which is one of the best songs of the album. A very fine moment. The rest of the material is written by Nebb, who plays the bass in addition to vocals, backed by acclaimed guitarist (and violinist) Dag Igland (ex-Barbie Bones) plus a small handful of others.

Nevertheless, despite some good songs such as the funny and catchy and punky party-song Ikke slakt min hane (Don't slaughter my rooster) and Stabburheten (Store-house-ness...?), as a whole Natural isn't a knock-out album. It's got a certain charm, but the music, or the sound of the album is somehow dated and old-fashioned (in this case: the 80s). But, yes, I must say it's good to hear the voice of Andrej Nebb now and again - it makes me (and lots of others I guess) mind go back to when I (as a young boy, with a young mind) saw DePress live, an experience which totally changed my musical horizon. Thanks, Andrej!

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