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Burnin Red Ivanhoe - 2013 - "BRI"

(45:06, Sony Music Denmark)


1.  Tiden Om Tiden 4:24
2.  Cafe Blahat 4:32
3.  Sig Det 5:19
4.  M 144 6:02
5.  Alting Var Bedre 5:07
6.  Mind the Gap 4:44
7.  Ironman Ivanhoe 4:47
8.  Natlig Rejse 4:23
9.  Det er Det 3:17
10. Air-II 2:31


Karsten Vogel – saxophones, clarinet; keyboards; cello
Kim Menzer – mouth harp, bassoon, flutes; violin
Jens Runge – vocals; guitars
Aske Jacoby – el. guitars 
Klaus Menzer – drums 
Assi Roar – bass 
Morten Benjamin – vocals 
Lone Selmer – vocals 
Anne Eltard – violin 
Ole Fick – violin 
Niels Harrit – saw 
Regin Fuhlendorf – banjo 
Lis Damm – backing vocals

Prolusion. The Danish band BURNIN RED IVANHOE is on of the greatest names in Danish rock, whether we’re talking about rock in general or progressive rock in particular. They started out almost 50 years ago, and while studio albums have been few and far between in the last few decades, the band has rarely, if ever, been inactive for any extended period of time. "BRI" is their most recent studio album, and was released through Sony Music Denmark in 2013, their first new album in 15 years. (From 1973 to 1976, the band had a different name, Secret Oyster.)

Analysis. It's always interesting to see, or rather hear, what the end result will be when old bands decide to release a new album, following a lengthy pause as recording artists. In some cases the end result will expand the legacy of the band, in other cases fans will be left somewhat disappointed. And while I'll have to admit that I haven't explored the past of this fine Danish band, I kind of expect that at least some old fans might be a tad disappointed with this production, at least when reading up on how their earlier material has been described. But for those with an interest in experiencing new albums as solitary statements rather than expecting an additional chapter continuing to explore the legacy of old, this disc should be received rather well. If I should point my fingers at anything negative on this CD, it boils down to a single composition: the jazz-flavored country explored on Det er Det. And that's about it as far as drawbacks and detrimental details are concerned. Otherwise the contents of this production are enjoyable through and through, excellent music performed by experienced musicians with a sure hand, who know exactly what they want to achieve and how to go about it. Excellently mixed and produced too, I must add. Dedicated progressive rock fans might find the more blues rock oriented affairs something of a letdown, but the opening track Tiden om Tiden, the fifth one Alting var Bedre, and especially the delightful Natlig Rejse are all wonderful compositions, exploring more of a classic ‘70s rock style. And the concluding atmospheric, blues laden piece Air-II is also a fine and enjoyable creation. Cafe Blahat explores a sleepier, soft jazz-rock oriented expression to perfection. Mind the Gap explores a similar style and mood in a compelling manner. The former of these two is a standout creation to my ears, first and foremost due to an excellent, subdued atmosphere of the kind that is goosebumps inducing, at least for a guy like me. Those primarily fond of progressive rock will most likely select the spirited instrumental M 144 as the clear album highlight, and personally I found this composition to be the most compelling one too. A spirited affair with dark, twisted yet smooth instrumental textures, blazing its way through six delightful minutes of music. The '70s sounding jazz rock-oriented Sig Det would probably be another highlight for progressive rock fans, as well as the more experimental landscapes explored on Ironman Ivanhoe, with chaotic, fragmented instrumentation supporting a spoken voice.

Conclusion. "BRI" documents Burnin Red Ivanhoe as a band still going strong, a vital unit still able to produce the goods 46 years after it was formed. As far as style is concerned, this isn't an album that sticks to progressive rock as such though, which might be regarded as a negative dimension for some, but if you can enjoy a band that opts to explore a broader stylistic framework that contains anything from radio friendly rock to experimental progressive rock, then this CD merits a check.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: December 8, 2014
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Burnin Red Ivanhoe
Sony Music Denmark


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