Den Fule


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Unfortunately, when musicians from other cultures decide to fuse their musical heritage with rock & roll, they rarely seem to go back to interesting and vital artists like Chuck Berry or the early Rolling Stones; instead, they gravitate toward musically derivative, commercialized stadium rockers in the post-Van Halen mold. Sweden's Den Fule (The Fools), in all fairness, don't quite live up to their names, but at times they come close. Interposed with some good work on the fiddles and an interesting contribution by the saxophones (used very well to thicken the texture) are tiresome electric guitar riffs and squeals, plus self-mocking slurred vocals. One can only presume (or hope) that this kind of rock has not been done to death in Scandinavia, which is why such a concept might seem fresh there.

When the group lays off the arena-rocker trappings, they are capable of some exciting things, as on "Lugumleik," an instrumental led by the saxes which the guitarist largely sits out. A couple tracks start off with bluesy licks, but the only one that follows through is "Vallåt (Herdman's Tune)" which has Ingrid Brännströmm as guest vocalist. This is an enticing fusion of the blues and Norwegian tradition, greatly aided by being low-key most of the way through. Other tracks are also worthwhile hybrids, but the listening experience is diminished by anticipation of the next mis-step. Then something like "Fly Med Mig (Fly with Me)" comes along, a perfect combination of alternative rock moodiness and Norwegian drama. One just never knows what to expect of, well, Fools.

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