After listening to the second album of Norwegian band Retroheads for the first time, I kept playing it over and over again. Their debut album Retrospective released in 2004 was recorded with a lot of vintage instruments such as Hammond- organ, Mellotron, MiniMoog and Taurus bass pedals. I loved that album very much and it became the second-best selling album of the Unicorn Digital-label after the Hamadryad≠-album. Introspective might kick Hamadrayad from its first position, because this album simply is superb!
Again we can enjoy many of the aforementioned vintage instruments. All musicians deliver an outstanding performance, but especially the bandís new lead singer Mike Mann. He lifts the music to an incredible high level. This Irish singer has a very strong voice reminding me of Threshold-singer Damian Wilson (ex- Landmarq, ex- Ayreon) and Bono (U2). The female vocals by Anne-Kristin Bendixen and flutist Deborah Girnius also add a new dimension to the music from the time The Andrew Sisters could be regularly heard on the radio. Iíve mentioned several musicians who play an important role on this album, but letís not forget the rest of them. The keyboard parts played by bass player and founding member Tore Bo Bendixen and Gry Anett Stordahl are just breathtaking. The countless and awesome synth solos and Mellotron-waves just sound heavenly. This sound gets even more coloured when the fantastic guitar parts of Tommy Berre are included. He can play heavy parts, but also delicate solos like the ones Steve Rothery does in Marillion. Thereís one name left, namely the fantastic drummer Trond Gjellum.
From the first track Rainy Day, these musicians sound fabulous. Since their first album, the music has gained much more power, but it still remains very emotional. On the nine tracks of Introspective, you can smell the flavour of wonderful seventies bands as Genesis and Yes. The lyrics contain a message as well. A good example is One World with the voices of President George Bush and the late Martin Luther King. This song cautions against war and that weíve learned nothing from the past concerning this subject. Apart from the fantastic music, the cover created by Xinemaís Jonas Thuren is very imaginative. For all these positive aspects I can only give the highest rating for this masterpiece that I - just like their debut album - keep playing over and over again.
***** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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