Ralph Myerz / The Jack Herren Band

A Special Album

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This Norwegian trio follows up its Special EP with this full-length effort, a lightweight but winning mixture of lounge-y ambience, electronic pop, and funky chill-out acid jazz. Its centerpiece is the insanely catchy and fun "Think Twice," which features vocalist Christine Sandtorv and some great cheesy clavinet work by someone billed as the Batmans. But most of the rest of the album is just as good: "Special Morning" is a chilled but faintly sexy instrumental in which faraway whistling weaves around a mellow synth line and softly percolating drums; "Casino" is a greasy retro-'60s romp (this time with vocals from Leslie Ahern); "You Never Come Closer" sounds, believe it or not, like a cross between Sade and the Doobie Brothers. Word has it that their live show involves multiple drummers and "elements of danger." Neither is easy to imagine while listening to this very pleasant album, but it does kind of make you wonder....

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