Featured Opium Cartel ~ Ardor

Published on 18th October 2013

New album from The Opium Cartel


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Norwegian progressive pop collective The Opium Cartel return with the follow up to their debut, Night Blooms (2009). Multi-instrumentalist Jacob Holm-Lupo leads an impressive cast which includes Tim Bowness and Stephen Bennett (No-Man & Henry Fool), Rhys Marsh, Venke Knutson, as well as members of White Willow, Jaga Jazzist and Wobbler…  Ardor will be released through Termo Records  in early November.

The album takes inspiration from the artsier side of 80’s pop, like The Blue Nile, Japan, Thomas Dolby, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush, as well as contemporary electronica and progressive rock. “I wanted to pay tribute to some of the music I heard and loved on the radio in the 80’s”, says Holm-Lupo. Synthesizers like the Prophet 5, Oberheim OB8, the Fairlight and the PPG Wave are all featured on the recording, and the production is characterized by a warm, dynamic sound.

Who is The Opium Cartel?

The Opium Cartel is a vehicle for the pop leanings of guitarist/songwriter/producer Jacob Holm-Lupo, best known as the leader of Norway’s premier art-rock band White Willow. Working in close collaboration with drummer/producer/keyboardist Mattias Olsson, known from Änglagård and Pineforest Crunch as well as White Willow, the project also utilizes a variety of vocal and instrumental talents in somewhat of a revolving door policy.

The first album, the highly acclaimed “Night Blooms” from 2009, featured the vocal talents of Rachel Haden (That Dog, Todd Rundgren, Weezer, Jimmy Eat World), Tim Bowness (No-Man, Henry Fool), Stephen Bennett (Henry Fool, No-Man) and Rhys Marsh, as well as instrumentalists from bands like White Willow, Jaga Jazzist and Wobbler.

On the forthcoming album, to be released in late Fall 2013, Jacob has again drawn around him a group of amazing singers, including one of Norway’s foremost pop singers, Venke Knutson, who has scored several top 10 hits, including no. 1s, and Alexander Stenerud, a singer many consider to be A-Ha singer Morten Harket’s true heir to the pop throne in Norway. Tim Bowness, Stephen Bennett and Rhys Marsh also return as singers on this new album.

Influences on The Opium Cartel’s music include 80’s art pop such as Japan, Roxy Music, Prefab Sprout and The Blue Nile, as well as 70’s folk-rock like Sandy Denny and Nick Drake. Reviewers have variously referred to the music as dream-pop, folktronica and art-pop.

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