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(38 min, 'PM')
TRACK LIST: 1. Vykort Fran Sodern 4:07 2. Nagra Bagateller 4:48 3. Utbrand 11:09 4. Oppen 4:05 5. Begagnat Liv 3:18 6. Folk Ar Inte Kloka 10:52 All tracks: by Karlsson, except 1: by Nyman & 3: by Teir. Produced by Prime Mover. LINEUP: Michael Karlsson - guitars; backing vocals Sebastian Teir - keyboards; bouzouki; vocals Roger Nyman - bass Kenneth Lagerstrom - drums Dennis Nordell - lead vocals With: Tomas Hogvag - violin (3 & 6) Karl Sandqvist - trumpet (1 & 6) Olivia Sarelin - backing vocals (3)
Prolusion. PRIME MOVER hails from Finland, but all the band members are Swedes. (Representatives of this nationality form six percent of the population there.) They have three albums at the moment, two of which are official releases. The first of them, "Put in Perspective" (2001), features English lyrics, but here, on "Alias Drivkraft", the group decided to sing in their mother tongue, which is the local dialect of Swedish.
Analysis. These guys tell the absolute truth while asserting that they don't have one common favorite band or one common favorite genre either, each being on friendly terms with many different musical directions. (That's right. Anybody, and especially creative personalities, should follow the precept "Don't idolize anyone!") Their "Alias Drivkraft" is indeed the repository of several different styles and is an outstandingly fresh sounding album. Not only fresh, though. This is seminal material, abundant in virtues and free of drawbacks. One of its most distinctive features is that the music is exclusively light and affirmative in mood, which vastly distinguishes Prime Mover from an average North European progressive band, particularly Sweden's. Each of the six tracks present, both quasi epics included, contain approximately equal amounts of vocal and instrumental sections, but the arrangements are never straightforward. All the participants are masterful musicians, tirelessly weaving an intricate web of patterns, regardless of whether they mellow the vocal lines or are in their free instrumental flight. Their singing and playing is so inspired and performed with such amazing ease, that I am certain that they did the most beloved work of their lives when they rehearsed and, later, recorded this stuff. It's definitely thanks to their passion for creation that the magic has found each of the songs an appropriate place for living. The quasi epics, Utbrand and Folk Ar Inte Kloka, each exceeding 10 minutes in duration, are the domains of the experimentation with folk music, which, I believe, is of the Finnish origin, not Swedish (though I can't be fully convinced of that). Very rich in violin and bouzouki, the former is just filled with corresponding colorings, and the best definition of the music would probably be Folk Rock performed with hints of symphonic Art-Rock. The other is notable for distinct folk intonations too, and also features a few high-speed, fantastically impressive movements, which I perceive as a rocking Classical music. To a greater degree however, it embodies the album's primary stylistic course, which is a unique conglomeration of symphonic Art-Rock and quasi Jazz-Fusion with elements of Hard Rock and some other attendant sub-styles. (It must be noted that a guest trumpet player does genuine improvisations, though he appears only on the album's boundary tracks and only briefly.) The music abounds in twists & turns and frequent changes of musical direction in general. Just logically, the second epic and the shorter tracks: Vykort Fran Sodern, Oppen, Nagra Bagateller and Begagnat Liv are in many ways kindred works. Each of these four is as much impressive as the longer tracks, even though they are some closer to the conventional direction of Prog, due to the fact that the features of folk music exist here only in a latent form.
Conclusion. Although the prevailing constituent of the music is symphonic Art-Rock, and the sounds of vintage keyboards (Hammond, Mellotron et al.) don't seem to be accidental in the overall picture, it would be pointless even to attempt to draw a parallel between Prime Mover and any other band, from Prog's past or present either. Besides, their "Alias Drivkraft" is such a strong effort, that the band can be styled as giant-killer, at least within the contemporary Art-Rock scene. Very highly recommended.
VM: May 18, 2005
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