Norway - Full Moon 67 - 03/28/02
Emmerhoff & the Melancholy Babies
From the western part of Norway sweeps a fresh breeze that somehow has managed to evolve
without too much interference from the music industry in Norway. Emmerhoff and his melancholic
babies started in 1996 and got some attention from the record industry when they released their
second album Viva Revenge in 2000 (their debbut The Joy Of Mourning came in 1996
- editor's note) and later on appeared on the venue By:larm (In the City). But surprisingly
enough they didn't sign any record deal. This fact has just as much to do with the bands credibility.
As they have told in interviews they didn't meet the right people in the business and are in general
more interested in signing smaller and more idealistic labels, where you can have more artistic
control and potential. Thus their latest album is totally self-financed and released under their own
label Melancholy Records.
Needless to say their music is of the melancholic kind, yet varied and dynamic. It's sometimes
dark and dangerous but always with hope on the other side and they manage to capture moments of
true beauty. Emmerhoff & MB has often been compared with similar bands as Madrugada and 16
Horsepower, but one band they certainly have elements of is Thin White Rope (and some of the rest
of the Desert Rock), just listen to the excellent track number two "This Summer's Done". The band
themselves emphasize elements of Robert Johnson, Led Zeppelin and John Coltrane in their music.
They also have certain playfulness towards the spaghetti western movie track - just listen to "The
Emissary". As the band functions as a totally democracy they spend a lot of time finding if not
the perfect take, the perfect mood for each song. The sound is not polished and smooth, but rather
dirty and rough on the edges but with several delicate details. This approach could have something
to do with producer (and contemporary art composer) Jørgen Træen contribution to the sound.
At last I just have to emphasize Gunnar Emmerhoff as a very powerful vocalist and storyteller, intense
and passionate in one moment and fragile and warm in the next.
As a total it's a most impressing second album from the new master of melancholic desert-psychedelia
with a very strong and forceful voice.
Best moment (and this is difficult this time...):
"The Emissary" : An Ennio Morricone inspired opening with the smell of horses and dusty deserts.
"This Summer's Done" : A strong melody with a strong resemblance to one of my old favourites Thin White
"Rattler" : A powerful "in your face" ballad in the same mood as Viva Revenge. Intense and dangerous.
"Pleasureground" : A lovely pop pearl with excellent vocal.
"Migraine Boogie" : An exciting surrealistic road movie through the desert.
"Loosebox" : A melancholic sweet closure of the album.
Copyright © 2002 Mariann Skjerdal