|Rob Walker||2-April-2001||One Man Tell's Another|
From the opening moments of this CD, it is obvious that this Swedish band has greatly matured. The follow-up to 1992's well received but unspectacular debut Lonely Land, One Man Tell's Another features solid musicianship, diverse writing, strong production, and most of all an original sound which doesn't reflect the usual progressive influences. The five band members spread the writing duties around, and while the (English) lyrics, full of personal melancholy and angst, are rather thematically similar throughout, the music benefits greatly, covering a variety of styles over the seven songs. There is no outstanding musical virtuosity or complexity, but with some novel sounds and fresh chord progressions, the album moves beyond the more typical symphonic prog of their first album into areas that are more difficult to define. It is hard to point to any specific group or album that seems to be a predecessor to One Man Tell's Another; perhaps the latest Sylvian/Fripp album or even Talk Talk may exhibit similarities in mood and style, but that does not adequately describe this music. For much of the CD, the rhythm section is used to set up a strong foundation - I hesitate to use the word "groove" - that is developed and accented by the excellent use of dynamics and instrumentation, as well as the wonderful production. Some of the most tasteful use of the mellotron in recent years can be found here. The modern sound of the album is an odd context for this well-travelled instrument, but it works extremely well and helps to create a unique atmosphere. Of all the band members, guitarist Reine Fiske is featured most prominently, but this remains very much a group effort. The lyrics, music and other elements are all brought together in each song into a strong, cohesive whole that is very engaging. One Man Tell's Another at times seems to fall into the nebulous area between prog and progressive pop, the sort of album that might perhaps bridge the gap to a larger audience for progressive music in general. Even if not, it still stands as a solid and original contribution to the 90s prog scene. I am not usually one to fall for this type of music, but I found Landberk's latest release to be impressive and thoroughly enjoyable.
(Originally published in Exposť #4, p. 13, Edited for Gnosis 3/27/01)
|Dan Casey||2-April-2001||One Man Tell's Another|
Landberk are one-third of the new wave of prog-rock from Sweden, along with countrymen Anglagard and Anekdoten. As with the other two bands, the sound here is based mostly upon organic, 70's-style instruments (like Hammond organs, Mellotrons, Rickenbacker bass, etc.) but with a 90's edge in the writing and production. One Man... is Landberk's second offering and those who enjoyed their first one (Lonely Land) are sure to enjoy this one as well. The band is a five-piece with a dedicated lead vocalist. But for a frontman who doesn't carry any other weight in the band, Patric Helje's voice is pretty thin and lacking confidence and strength. Furthermore, the lyrics (in English) suffer from the same overblown gothic imagery that Anekdoten's did (ex. "I am lonely/Wonder how you feel/Sit in darkness/Naked in my room"). While Landberk sound very much like Anekdoten overall, they approach the music with significantly less enthusiasm and energy, the result being like a subdued boil rather than the explosiveness the writing begs for. Since they also take a much simpler approach in songwriting, perhaps this suggests Landberk are already pushing their limits as an ensemble. There certainly are some fine moments on this album, but not enough to seriously compete with Anglagard or Anekdoten in this arena.
(Originally published in Exposť #4, p. 14, Edited for Gnosis 3/27/01)
|Links for further information|