Sweden is a country with a long history of psychedelic music. In the seventies they had Träd Gräs Och Stenar amongst others, and in the nineties bands like Spacious Mind and DarXtar. Barrett Elmore, founded in 2008, are the new kids on the block and Woodlands is their debut album. Barrett Elmore is a rather strange name for a band. I assume they copied the idea from Pink Floyd whose band name was put together from the names of two blues guitarists: Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. I guess that Barrett Elmore took their name from Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd) and Elmore James, a blues guitarist who is also said to be an inspiration for Jimi Hendrix. However, it might as well be Elmore from the Blues Brothers ! There's not much information about it on the internet.
Barrett Elmore started as a trio with Claes Michael Svensson (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Max Karlström (bass, vocals, organ, harmonica, synthesizer) and William Friman (guitar, organ, piano). Later on they were joined by female singer Mikaella Eriksson. The songs on Woodlands sung by Max Karlström have been inspired by the psychedelic music from the sixties and the early seventies, especially from Syd Barrett, early Pink Floyd and The Doors. The sound of the organ, the backward played tapes and the wah-wah guitar sound provide the music a sixties vibe. Unlike Mikaella Eriksson, who has a kind of mysterious and sensual voice, the voice of Max Karlström is not that strong.
The music is introvert and almost ambient rather than drenched in psychedelic effects and guitar eruptions. The songs in itself aren't bad at all, but as a whole the album is too diverse. It covers too much different moods and therefore it doesn't take root. Yet Woodlands is a promising debut album, but Barrett Elmore still need to find their musical style.
*** Erik Gibbels (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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