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coverpic flag Norway - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 9 - 07/20/97

The Tables
Holiday At Wobbledef Grunch
Perfect Pop

The Tables are finally back! Only a few months after I joined The Tables official fan club in late 1989 along with some 50 other souls, they announced it was time to call it a day. By then they had already released a four track seven inch EP and was about to release their sole LP, the stunning pure pop-monster Shady Whims & Obstacles. The lucky few were also blessed with a couple of cassette-only releases from the fan club. Late 1991 we were comforted by eight tracks by The Monsters Of Doom on a split-LP with Astroburger. The Monster line-up was quite equal to the Tables' and most of the songs had the trademarks of classic Tables-tunes. Afterwards was nothing but silence until the mid 90s when persistent rumours and new promising contributions to a couple of compilation CDs indicated the come-back. Indeed they have returned, though female keyboardist Sandy Shore and drummer Mono are long gone. Only the male nucleus of Bartleby (vocals, ocarina etc.), Reg Trademark (guitar, organ etc.) and Robert Birdeye (drums, bass, organ etc.) remains, with a little help from their friends, among them a band called the Chairs(!).

Well then, what kind of perfect pop music does the Tables present, you may ask. They used to be the Norwegian equivalent to England's Television Personalities, though Tables' songs and productions are substantially better than latterday TVPs, in my honest opinion. This means innocent and funny lyrics with some dark undercurrents and simple tunes with some legacy to British pop, pop-sike and psychedelia of the 60s such as the Beatles, Hollies, Kinks, Idle Race and Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd. As Bartleby sings in the opening song We're Back on the new album:

Our music is bright and blue and green and purple too
It comes in flashes and it sticks underneath your shoe
It doesn't make any giant splashes, only among the few

and later:

Our music is strangely simple, simply deranged and true
Made to whistle or hum along when you're sitting on the loo

Guitarist extraordinaire Eddie Phillips of the innovative pop-sike and early psychedelic band Creation (1966-67) once stated that their music was red with purple flashes... In fact the song Rubble Soul pays tribute to the compilation albums filled with English pop-sike and psychedelia of the 60s from the colleagues of Creation.

The first three songs on Holiday... sound as if they were recorded for the first LP in 1989 with the presence of Bartleby's high-pitched voice, light and steady rythms, clean & crisp guitars, Farfisa organ and irresistible melodies. Other tracks add sufficient new elements to underline the passing of time since the last album. They use some mean and nasty guitars and other hard edges with a twinkle in the eye here & there, sitars, cello, psychedelic backward effects, greater melodic variations within a song etc. Now and again the band mix serious and even moral aspects to the otherwise childish and happy-go-lucky lyrics. Mohammed deals with freedom of speech and the Salman Rushdie case(!), The Blackest Hole In The Universe seems to be a personal tale of the traumas of drunken violence and remorseful hangovers, while Dr. Wishbone Says is a merry warning of new age preachers. The Pincushion Man, about a felon who pops balloons, seems to say the most about the lyricist Bartleby's mind (or maybe even something pretentious about he state of the Norwegian society at the moment, well, probably not):

So let's rally round the banner, let's chase him away
Balloons are endangered much more than the whales

Holiday At Wobbledef Grunch includes 12 loveable songs with English lyrics, one dull in Norwegian and an epic instrumental in three parts called The Lord Of The Rings (which lasts 1 minute and 28 seconds!). The album maintains Bartleby's and Trademark's position as the Lennon-McCartney of the Norwegian perfect pop scene. Just listen to the silly and extremely hummable chorus of Doctor Wishbone Says and the sheer beauty of the mellow title track. And the relative complexity of The Blackest Hole In The Universe and Fortean Times are successful examples if the Tables' higher compositional level. The CD-version of the album (LPs will be available later) includes seven (of the eight) tracks by The Monsters Of Doom off the aforementioned split-LP as bonus tracks, which means you'll obtain classic pop-songs such as Who Am I To Say? and Pneumonia Ceilings in addition! Beeing an old fan club member, I see no reason to hesitate. And while you're at it, as the Tables says themselves:

But you might as well go out and buy our Shady... CD too. Cause it's all for you.

World wide distribution: Voices of Wonder, P.b. 2010 Grünerløkka, N-0505 Oslo, Norway

Copyright © 1997 JP e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Tables articles/reviews: Nevermynd The Hillocks (treble without a cause), Play Idle Race, See Emily Play, Wonderland: The Greatest Adventures 1988-2003.

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