With For Mange Melodia Norwegian newcomers Knekklectric present an ambitious and sonically varied sophomore effort, displaying elements ranging from Indie-Rock, Post-Hardcore and Jazz to classic progressive rock. The Ålesund-based outfit successfully combines the above mentioned musical influences in an appealing manner, ultimately resulting in an intricate and simultaneously highly approachable record, that deserves much attention.
Jazzy guitar lines, complex polyrhythmic drumming and modern as well as vintage synthesizer sounds draw a thread through the otherwise very melodic approach to chorus and verse on the entire record, at times giving the record a classic progressive rock feel. Yet there is more to it…
The ‘Jazzy guitar lines’ aren’t just a show of highly virtuosic skills but explicitly serve the compositions. Straight from the start the first guitar motif on opening track Vi e Mindre proves this point by constructing the melodic groundwork of the song with sequencing arpeggios that gives way to a fuzzy bassline accompanying the verse. The chorus is of a more epic nature, attesting to the unquestionable Scandinavian background of the band.
Omar Rodriguez Lopez and Cedric Bixlar, of At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta, could certainly have been involved in the writing process of the frantically banging verses of Hanska på. Vocalist Johannes Drablos Maaseide, who on the rest of the album convinces with clean singing and a singular falsetto, switches to a raw scream, accompanied by dirty distorting guitar strokes and hard hitting drum work. But even halfway through this short rocker the band builds in a break and reconstructs the punchy 8/8 with different rhythmic variations, giving synthesizer and guitar space for climaxing solos of a truly prodigious nature.
The majestically harmonic progression closing Prokrastinera igjen even suggests some ’70s Kaipa influences, Johannes’s scratchy vocals at this point being very reminiscent of Mats Löfgren’s outburst on Total Förvirring, from Kaipa’s 1978 album Solo.
By presenting such a wide pallet of influences over a half hour record there’s naturally always the danger of confusing and not emotionally engaging the audience, but on this level Knekklectric excel. The intricate and unique instrumental performances by all involved interlink the seven songs with a unique sonic concept, and in addition to the sincerely and at times eclectically delivered Norwegian vocals grab the listeners attention to the fullest – not understanding Norwegian in the slightest doesn’t stand in the way of that according to this listener.
The flawless production and mix further enhance the overall sonic experience by dynamically balancing the rougher and more atmospheric passages, shaping a final homogeneous whole. Don’t be discouraged from trying this record just because of the Norwegian vocals or the mentioning of the genre definitions like “indie-rock” in this review. This album is an accomplished engagement, appealing to all who enjoy top-notch musicianship, and just might convince a few prog heads to include it in their ‘best of’ lists for 2017. For Mange Melodia deserves to rocket to the top of this years releases.
01. Vi e mindre (5:16)
02. Hanska på (3:40)
03. Prokrastinera igjen (6:09)
04. Stolpekontroll (4:14)
05. Vestkyst (3:53)
06. Ski no (7:35)
Total Time – 30:47
Johannes Maaseide – Vocals, Guitar
Edvard Brøther – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Hogne Aarflot – Rhodes, Hammond, Synths, Piano, Backing Vocals
Erlend Alm Lerstad – Bass Guitar
Jon Bolstad – Drums & Cymbals