Bushman's Revenge

Thou Shalt Boogie!

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On Thou Shalt Boogie!, Norway's Bushman's Revenge evolve further from their roots as a skronophonic psych-jazz power trio into a tight unit whose dynamics, arrangements, and sound matter as much as their ability to improvise and project. Composer and guitarist Even Helte Hermansen, electric bassist Rune Nergaard, and drummer Gard Nilssen recorded the album at Athletic Sound in Halden, an older, more traditional studio that offered a warmer overall atmosphere, and it's evident in the finished product. Joining the trio is David WallumrĂžd on Hammond B-3, Prophet V, and clavinet. He adds not only textural elements to these works, but his instruments become a focal point for the bandmembers to revolve around as they articulate their collective vision. The set commences with his B-3 on a swirling single chord that Nilssen's drums begin to push through in triple time. When Hermansen articulates his fractured lyric line, the synths enter and the bass ranges through all the parts. On "Baklengs Inn I Fuglekassa," organ and subdued guitar play a modal melody in unison before Nergaard's bass comes in from the margin, strutting a low, deliberate swagger, and Nilssen offers a tom-tom shuffle. It begins to shape-shift in phases, nearly sprawling out of control before a dynamic shift inserts a drone that sounds like an Indian sruti box before an organ solo begins to rebuild the intensity. The band eventually reenters, taking it out in a wailing droning modal exploration. "Kugeln und Kraut" is a 14-plus-minute blazer that commences as an intuitive, frenetic exploration of the improvisational fringe before it melds Jimi Hendrix's and Sonny Sharrock's love of rhythmic slippage and King Crimson's foreboding knottiness and pulse. As seemingly loose as this cut is, it shifts intricately and purposefully; one can hear traces of various melodies but they blur into Hermansen's own -- his love of the blues is evident, too. The soulful shimmering "Waltz Me Baby, Waltz Me All Night Long" and the bluesy closing ballad "Hurra for Mamma" showcase a fluid yet present formalism we've not heard from this band previously. Besides the fine performances, the highlight of Thou Shalt Boogie! is Hermansen's more focused, disciplined writing. It distills his band's various influences and builds upon them to create a wider interplay where stylistic and sonic edges bleed through one another into something else entirely. This group emerges with a singular identity that embraces jazz, blues, rock, prog, and even metal, but isn't limited by any of them.

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