Olsen Brothers


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Previously a support act for the Kinks in the '60s, Danish siblings Jorgen and Niels Noller, aka Brødrene Olsen or the Olsen Brothers, appear to have hit a creative rut since storming to victory in the 2000 Eurovision Song Contest. Following 2002's Songs and 2005's More Songs, Respect is their third album in six years to focus entirely on cover versions, and their fourth overall, if you count 1987's Rockstalgi. Inspired by their favorite songs of the '60s and '70s, the 14-track collection features faithful renditions of Scott McKenzie's "If You're Going to San Francisco," Bread's "Everything I Own," and Peter & Gordon's Lennon/McCartney-penned "A World Without Love." But the duo also put their own spin on several classic standards, with unsurprisingly mixed results. Their driving country-rock renditions of the Mamas and Papas' "Monday Monday," and Jimmy Cliff's "I Can See Clearly Now" are never going to live up to the originals, but they are respectful and admirable attempts at making them their own, while the squelchy funk interpretation of Harpo's "Movie Star" may conjure up images of an aging wedding band, but it's still fun nonetheless. However, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" is a woeful reggae-fied version of the Beatles' hit, their corny Euro-pop take on "Strawberry Fields Forever" doesn't exactly strengthen their case, while the dated production on their cover of the Supremes' "Stop in the Name of Love" makes the Motown classic sound like bad '80s cabaret. The hit-and-miss nature of its track list means that it's their sole self-composed song which provides the album's highlight. "Look Up, Look Down," a slight re-tweaking of a track from their 2001 LP, Walk Right Back, is an uplifting slice of schlager pop full of infectious disco guitar licks and a surprise appearance from Cliff Richard, who also pops up on their rendition of one of his signature tunes, "Livin' Doll." Nearly half-a-century into their career, Olsen Brothers are still capable of providing the odd addictive pop tune, but continuing their recent dry spell, it's their enduring career which commands respect, rather than this rather formulaic and unimaginative album.

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