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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 89 - 01/07/04

The Loch Ness Mouse
Friends And Fenders EP
Perfect Pop Records

It's been a while since The LNM's last longplayer Key West. It was a delightful collection of summer songs, but I found it a bit too striving to reach the pop masterpieces of Brian Wilson's Beach Boys around 1966-67. Some of the Loch Ness Mouse characteristics got lost on the way methinks. Since then the bassist and drummer have left the band. They have been replaced by three girls and the sound has been expanded with keyboards. Though the Åleskjær brothers dominate the recordings, as always. They've written the three self-penned songs, played the Fenders and taken care of the main vocal duties.

The Friends And Fenders four track EP seems to catch LNM at a crossroad. The title reveals some of the contents: more or at least rougher guitars than on Key West and several guest artist. Here they are breaking new ground without loosing touch of earlier recordings. The title track reminds to some extent of the debut album Flair For Dardjeeling, but more mature and more American than British sounding. Augmented with trumpet, jazzy electric piano and distorted Fenders it signals something new. "Harmony High School II" is a refreshing and refined re-recording of a song from the Ceylon Sailor EP and also represents a flashback to Key West. It was the first real Brian Wilson-inspired song by the band. Though I'm not too fond of the trumpet solo right here, played by producer Gary Olson of New York's The Ladybug Transistor. "New Devotion" is the lightweight track. According to the press sheet it's 'a bright and sunny pop song perfect to play when the days are grey and you are most likely to stay indoors and enjoy a cup of tea'. The weakest of the lot here, not quite matching the usual LNM standards. "All Summer Long" on the other hand, really is something new. It's a song by Jeff Baron, also of The Ladybug Transistor. It sounds very American, but much closer to rural Mid West or California than metropolitan New York. It's rather acoustic with folk and country elements. It's the song that reflects the cover photo ('you're gonna find me, out in the country'), with a melancholic violin, yet optimistic in between with a beautiful mandolin.

Well then, it's hard to guess where the LNM will go from here. Though they surely haven't reached a point of no return, they seem to have more options for the forthcoming album than ever. You can find out more about the LNM and other familiar artists at the Perfect Pop site.

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You may also want to check out our Loch Ness Mouse articles/reviews: 11-22", An interview with..., Bamboo (Love Is Not Cool), Flair For Darjeeling, Flair for Dardjeeling - Deluxe Edition, Key West, New Graffiti, Overnite, The Mouse that roared!.

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