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(59:21, Transubstans Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Demons and Haze 9:58 2. Turn Left to the Mexican Barbeque 10:41 3. The Guitar Is Mightier Than the Gun 23:13 4. Smoking 15:29 LINEUP: Fredrik – bass Johan – guitar Petrus – organ Carl – drums
Prolusion. The Swedish outfit FIRST BAND FROM OUTER SPACE (FBFOS from now on) was formed by Fredrik and Johan in 2001, and started to take shape and direction as a band when drummer Carl joined them a year later. In 2005 they issued their debut album, with their sophomore effort following a year later. When their third album "The Guitar Is Mightier than the Gun" appeared towards the end of 2009, the band itself had changed quite a bit since their previous effort. First and foremost among the changes, the line-up was stabilized with the addition of organ/keyboard player Petrus.
Analysis. FBFOS made a name for themselves in 2005 and 2006, issuing two albums that saw quite a few heralding them as the band that eventually might replace Hawkwind. Their style of music was pretty obviously inspired by the vintage era of that English band, sporting heavy bass- and guitar-driven grooves liberally spiced with space-tinged keyboards and sound effects. And more often than not, these Swedish newcomers delivered songs heavier than anything Dave Brock and his ever-shifting crew of musicians delivered, with Black Sabbath as the most obvious reference to that part of their sound. This latest effort by FBFOS sees the band more or less abandoning that approach altogether. The Hawkwind reference remains to some extent, but are now limited to a select few sequences throughout the album, most extensively on final effort Smoking. It is a lighter variety of the sound from that particular school of space rock though, rarely heavy and without any substantial references to the Black Sabbath spicing supplied on this band's first pair of recordings. The heavy grooves the band so far has been best known for have been replaced by longer and more elaborate improvisational sequences. Light, swirling, psychedelic guitar textures are central in these elongated passages, supported by wind synths, organ and various forms of spacey sounds. Subtle and sophisticated, these parts remind me of another Scandinavian act, namely Oresund Space Collective, in particular the manner in which the guitar evolves in these passages. FBFOS is still a much more structured outfit, and at least on this occasion all the songs reside within a framework – to the extent that they can be described as compositions featuring improvisational segments. Personally I get the impression that this is something of a transitional album for these Swedish space rockers. Remnants of their past are still with them, and while they show skill in the new direction they are seeking out, I don't find the moods and atmospheres provided on this occasion as engaging as what they served on their first two efforts. "The Guitar Is Mightier than the Sword" is a good effort, but not quite as intriguing as their previous material in my opinion.
Conclusion. Those with an interest in space rock featuring elongated improvisational sequences, and who think a band sporting a stylistic expression residing somewhere in between Hawkwind and Oresund Space Collective in sound might be interesting to check out should take note of this act and this CD. Personally I would imagine that most followers of OSC and similar artists should find "The Guitar Is Mightier Than the Sword" to have a great deal of appeal, and my recommendations will first and foremost be to that particular crowd.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: July 12, 2010
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