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Tugboat
Tugboat
Shoreline Records/Tuba

From out of Namsos - now based in Trondheim - come Tugboat with their self-titled debut album containing 10 songs. On board the boat there are two captains named Stian: Stian Wallum (son of the late Prikken Wallum, one of the members of Prudence - legendary Namsos band of the 70's ) on vocals/guitars, and Stian Stakset on vocals plus a variety of keys (clavinet, rhodes, farfisa, synthesizers, glockenspiel, harmonium). The rest of the crew count three members: Kai Kristiansen (guitars, banjo), Morten Strøm (bass), and Joakim Pedersen (drums). Since Tugboat started in 1997 they've released a split-7" and a split-EP. Now it's time to tow their own cargo.

The two Stians have written half of the songs each, and they show great skill both in their song-writing as well as arranging. Opening track Eraser is a laid-back, airy pop-rock tune, while The Nighttripper shows tugboat from a darker side. The strength of Tugboat is the variation of songs and moods - which may have to do with two song-writers matching each other quite appropriate - like turning from the Beatlesque start of Sever the Weighted Limb to the harder edge of Get The Picture which is a real tough one. They've certainly picked some inspiration from Trondheim rock-kings Motorpsycho, with good portions of 70's inspired fuzzy and monstrous psych-folk-prog riff-o-ramas. But, hey, even Motorpsycho tend quite openly to borrow ideas from their idols. And we're not talking copying, even though a few of the tracks (such as No Runner Up and Empiric) sound quite motorpsychodelic.

My fave song is Stripped, which is a very fine pop-song with strings and a nice guitar solo, but I also start nodding my head to some of the "heavier" songs. The band is tight and sounds like a solid unit of musicians. Tugboat are probably a good live band as well. So, an indeed decent debut.

Distribution in Norway: Tuba!

Copyright © 2000 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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