label: Jester Records
our score: 4.0 out of 5.0
official site: here
Kåre João Pedersen used to be the
bassist and then drummer for Norway's Kåre and the Cavemen,
who then turned into the Euroboys, who started to suck, so he
quit to go solo. He gathered together any of the Cavemen who would
still talk to him, and this is the result; but I'm still not sure
why this is really "his" record. Yeah, he wrote the
music for this record, but only sings on one song, "Channel
Five," which happens to be the only one he wrote lyrics for;
the rest of the words were written and sung by Anders Bortne,
who is in the Norwegian group Whopper. And there are a bunch more
musicians playing here, too--I guess he's more of a bandleader
than an actual "solo act." Whatever.
What you need to know is that this is one great
wonderful strange screwed-up record. Only seven tracks here, totaling
out at 40 minutes, but they're all amazing hybrids of psychedelia,
shoegazer slam, metallic "classic rock," and power-pop.
The first track, the seven-minute "Captain Trips," is
pretty much a mission statement for the rest of the record, and
for all pop music as well: not only does it have more guitar blasts
and feedback finery than it has the right to, but it also (probably
inadvertently) steals its vocal melody from Spinal Tap's "The
Majesty of Rock." That's class. There's some Pink Floyd and
My Bloody Valentine here, and it sounds all tired and sexy, and
that's the Kåre João sound in a nutshell.
Except that he keeps breaking out of the nutshell.
"Channel Five" is refreshingly soulful and bleak (Pedersen
should really sing more of his own stuff); the instrumental "Mission
to Cure My Condition" throws some Hendrix licks and funky
drums into the mix, which rules; and "Dark of Heartness"
-- yes, that's really the title -- parlays its "This way
we will go!" vocal hook into some kind of universal statement
of longing. Or something. It's cool, though.
But the best
song is the little three-minute pop gem tossed into the middle
of the album, "Frank Furius." This sounds like it comes
straight from Eno's Here Come the Warm Jets, with its
cheesy hooks and its hilarious lyrics: "Blowin' minds / Blowin'
minds out / With a HOSE!" is a wonderful way to
chant a song into pop history. Between this nugget of pure pop
and the other lengthier funk/punk/rock/techno tunes, Kåre
João may have just snuck his way into my 2002 Top Ten;
he's right at the top of my "Watch This Dude" list for
1. Captain Trips
2. Channel Five
3. Sunshine Blues
4. Frank Furius
5. Mission To Cure My Condition
6. Love Report
7. Dark Of Heartness