Hammond vs Drums

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Recorded in 2002 but not released in the States until mid-2005, this Swedish rollicking organ/drums debut doesn't seem a bit dated. That's probably because the all-instrumental combination of funk, Booker T. & the MG's Memphis soul, rock, and even prog wasn't hip when it was captured in the studio, nor when it was ultimately made available in the U.S. Nevertheless, this is a roaring good time, as keyboardist R. Sjoblom charges into his keyboard with the intensity of early Lee Michaels/Keith Emerson/Focus and Brian Auger. There are jazzy moments, but the propulsive energy from drummer P. Diamant thrusts this more often into the instrumental rock format. The pop ballad "Høst" sounds like a '60s cover, but it, like the rest of the album, is an original. The arrangements are so well realized, the swirling sound is so full, and the duo locks together so effortlessly that most listeners will be surprised to find this is only a two-piece outfit. The tunes are often riff-based, but never fall into obvious Deep Purple-styled hard rock, although there is surely some Jon Lord influence to Sjoblom's approach. The album even veers into experimental territory on parts of "Spain for Sale," but this too doesn't sound forced or studied. The band's eclectic nature makes it difficult to slot it into a particular genre, but that is also its beauty. Tunes that start as jazzy end as rock or prog, with plenty of twists in between. This is a promising debut that any fan of Medeski, Martin & Wood's similarly eclectic nature will love.

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