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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 40 - 01/21/00

Navel Flush
Late Night Live
Navel Sounds

"The acid that is circulating around us is not spesifically too good ... and watch out, there are some dangerous cows out here too!" No, Sjonstock, the annual local rock festival in the outskirts of arctic city Mo i Rana isn't quite like Woodstock. It draws close to one thousand people, for two days of mostly local rock'n'roll. This intermezzo was spoken during Navel Flush's show at last august's festival. They recorded this live set straight from the board to a MiniDisc. And the sound isn't too bad. The drums are fairly in your face, the guitar perhaps a little low on occasions, but overall you are plugged right into the experience.

Navel Flush are John E. Andersen (bass, vocals), Ken Høili (drums, vocals), Mats Jamtli (saxophone, vocals), and Morten Røberg (guitar, vocals). Their music comes complete with intricate rhythm patterns, hasty shifts, and crafty arrangements, especially on the rhythmic side, resulting in precision syncopated fast metal and quirky rock, but they also have an ear for the catchy stuff in rock'n'roll. There is also a lot of humour here, of the typically late 90's ironic (or paradoxical) kind, doubled with some non-sense of taking themselves too seriuosly. When trying to describe their own music, they come up with suggestions like "experimental funk-rock-flush-metal" and "alternative acid flush-metal." They have now officially agreed on the last one. What does this sound like?

The first track opens with a death-metal voice, but luckily is also just a joke. Not a joke, however, is the fact that the sax is out of tune most of the time. A little out of tune - OK, that only reminds me of the great Psychedelic Furs. But here we are talking a major problemo. It's a shame, because the sax-playing contributes much to the bands identity. The bass is also having similar trouble on parts, but I'll try to overlook these things when conveying my impressions. After all, this is a real live thing - no overdubs!

Navel Flush joke around a lot in between the songs, both with each other and with the audience, and we get to hear it all. (I'll try concentrating on the music.) Their "flush-metal" is tangled with things like swing themes, naive pop breaks and vocal absurdities, but they also manage to come up with some great songs. Like Fairytales, a song starting out with a 70's-like, catchy and moderately fuzzed up guitar riff, but closing in on the heavier side of Ozric Tentacles later on. It seems like they all take their share singing the lead, with varying results, but here the singing works fine, and it also becomes obvious that Høili is an accomplished drummer. However, when, as on the next track (Never A Child) he takes on the lead vocals as well, the result is ... peculiar. Shout is another stand-out track, with a very releasing sing-a-long chorus - this is healthy rock'n'roll! Also worth mentioning is Let It, a folk tune (from the Irish Republic of Flushland?) pushed down into some gothic sphere, with vocals reminiscent of Sisters Of Mercy.

I could easily compare Navel Flush to 24-7 Spyz, but they probably have more in common with a band like Beefeater (Washington DC - mid 80's). However, both these bands may be used as references when trying to describe what Navel Flush are all about, sharing much of the same experimental urge and playful attitude within a metal context.

Also included are two bonus tracks recorded in March last year, demo takes of two songs not included in the live set. Everything Will Happen is somewhat "serious" and murky, but Cardboard Box is another great punk-metal-hardcore song with a snappy refrain. Great!

For more info, visit The Navel Net.

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