Beezewax

A Dozen Summits

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Norwegian quartet Beezewax shines like the Oslo summer sun on its 1997 debut, A Dozen Summits. Moments after the laser connects, the introductory riff to "The Snooze Is On" confirms the power poppers' m.o. of emphatic melodies wrapped in jangling distortion and propulsive rhythms. Stylistically borrowing from Weezer's debut record and Buffalo Tom's best moments (Beezewax singer Kenneth Ishak's voice is a near-ringer for that of Buffalo Tom's Chris Colbourn), the Scandinavian youngsters pound out an energetic set of rockers that seems to imagine a slightly more rambunctious Posies. It's a fitting comparison, since A Dozen Summits would eventually capture the attention of Ken Stringfellow to the degree that the Posies co-frontman would produce Beezewax's 1999 follow-up, South of Boredom. A Dozen Summits gains momentum steadily throughout its run, reaching an apex by the time "Miss Playin Basketball"'s sliding bump of a bassline arrives five songs in. "Favourite Me" ignites the second half of the album with its brilliant arrangement and powerhouse riff, while the xylophone-enhanced "Miracle Mile" courageously follows by maintaining the record's darting pace. Sure, there's an ever-so-slight dip in energy evident on the album's last few tracks, and Ishak is guilty of lyrical platitudes in spots -- a forgivable sin, since English is not the band's original language. Nevertheless, there's a reason A Dozen Summits put Beezewax on the indie power pop globe in the late '90s: The hard to find album's rush of melodic energy has rarely been duplicated since.

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