Fervent Mind is a Norwegian group around singer, synthesizer player and composer/lyricist Live Sollid Schulerud. The band was formed by Live in 2014. Other members include Simen Skrebergene (electric guitars), Martin Sandvik Gjerde (keyboards), Martin Skrebergene (electric bass) and Henrik Håland (drums).
According to the band themselves they play “experimental rock”, drawing inspiration from post-rock and metal as well as dream pop, trip hop and contemporary jazz, and bands like Porcupine Tree, Mew, Massive Attack, Radiohead and Norwegian singer Susanne Sundfør. All this can now be witnessed on their debut album Tranquilize, which was released by Karisma Records in March 2019.
My expectations were quite high (especially the mention of Susanne Sundfør whose music I like a lot), but alas the band did not manage to live up to these. Not for me, at least. But there is promise, let's take a look.
The first pieces offer a combination of distorted guitars with electronic moods and atmospheres. Indeed the music is influenced by post-rock and trip hop. But haven't I heard this a couple of times before?
Things pick up with Fervent that is led by crunchy guitars and then shifts to Live's slightly melancholic lead vocals. There is a typical Scandinavian touch before halfway through ending up in a wild and chaotic guitar solo drowning in feedback and devoid of any melody over a loose rhythm section. I wonder what they were thinking of at this moment.
Sleeping Strange is very dreamy and symphonic. Nice! Runaway Bride brings cool organ and a dramatic climax. All Sounds Muted then, draws once more strongly on the post-rock tradition of building up tension to a climax with more and more 'noise'.
The first part of Disappearing Into The Masses starts with acoustic guitar, then turns into an uplifting piece. The second part then quickly destroys this atmosphere with weird effects while the ending section sounds like King Crimson's Red meets a wild organist.
Tongues provides a dreamy contrast to this, and reminds me of Norwegian singer Aurora, especially through the way the vocals are layered. The piece has a symphonic ending with soaring guitar and another cool climax. This flows into Strain that provides a wonderful ending of an interesting, yet not yet fully convincing debut album.
*** Carsten Busch (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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