Open House

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People who bought Himlaväsen's first album, Hip Bop, thinking that the Blues Brothers image would have anything to do with the music probably got disappointed. On Open House the music has more of soul in it, but the big band arrangements and the well-behaved production is devastating for the funkier numbers, like "Hit It!," that worked very good live. This is a problem that Himlaväsen was to have throughout their entire career, in spite of good solo performances never being able to re-create the energy from the live shows on any album. And a strange thing here is the brass bandish arrangement of some songs. While suiting the atmospheric "Beyond Our Dreams" and "Longing," giving the latter the feeling of a hymn, on some faster songs it reduces the momentum considerably. The first album, Hip Bop, had been completely instrumental, but here singing is introduced on some tracks. Bryan Duncan sings his own "Ain't No Stoppin' Now" and Frank Ådahl sings "Take Me to the River." Duncan is competent and Ådahl has a great voice, and that makes their tracks by far the strongest on the album, but it doesn't completely cover up how thin the background is. And then there is "Stand By Your Man," sung in a intentionally silly way, probably as a tribute to the Blues Brothers. By now the gimmick started to feel less and less fresh, especially since Himlaväsen on their two albums had proved that they had nothing at all to do with any wild rock and soul acts from the states.

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