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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 73 - 09/21/02

Alpine Those Myriads!
Death, A Skeleton & The Holy Ingredient/Feline Jive/Country Poe
Osito Records

When the Norwegian duo Alpine Those Myriads! (ATM!) was interviewed on national Norwegian radio recently they insisted on speaking in English. Maybe I ought to write this review in Norwegian then? Not.

Well, ATM! makes me puzzled. They're either over-pretentious judged from the accompanying info sheets (in both Norwegian and English!) or enjoys a practical joke. The music is not that complex or pretentious, as the sheets suggest, methinks. The band seems to draw inspiration from musical sources around 1970 as well as experiments from that era and forwards. Side A of the single is occupied by 5 minutes of "Death, A Skeleton & The Holy Ingredient". After a fumbling start of banjo(!) it turns into a voice-and-piano-tormented ballad that reminds of Peter Hammill at his peak. It seems ATM! wants to recreate Hammill's moods of a couple of songs off Chameleon In The Shadow Of The Night (1973) or The Silent Corner And The Empty Stage (1974), but fails. They lack integrity and conviction. The song/side ends with some sound experiments of Fender Rhodes, voice (?) and more banjo fumbling; not very fruitful. The 6 and a half minutes "Feline Jive" is better. It starts almost like one of Peter Hammill's (yep, him again!) voice-and-acoustic-guitar-tormented ballads, but then an organ comes forward and drags the song into folksier fields. It reminds a bit of C.O.B. (Clive Palmer's band of the early 70s after he'd left The Incredible String Band). Not bad! Eventually the short "Country Poe" is the definite joke of the single. Ill-treated voice and guitar in the living room. To be avoided. At the best ATM! shows potential. At the worst... not! Some discipline both songwriting-wise and studio-wise is needed.

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