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Laughing Stock - The Island

Laughing Stock
The Island
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 14 July 2020, 8:59 AM

LAUGHING STOCK are a Prog/Neo Prog band based out of Norway. Very little information was available about the band on the WWW, so we just need to get down to business, and get to the review. “The Island” leads off the album. It opens with a summer feeling, like you are on your own private vacation. Tender guitars and vocals can be found floating in the air above you, as you enjoy a nice breeze from the ocean. “That Face” is next. Easy listening tones lead the charge here…with soft vocals and guitars. Around the half-way mark, it takes a darker tone, with a meatier riff and some background ambiance of doom and gloom. It is them tempered with tones of hope, and grand melodies.

“Descension” opens with dual harmonic acoustical guitars, and a feeling of peace. That feeling lasts throughout this instrumental sound. Delicate melodies carry the song to completion. I feel like letting out a satisfied “ahhh” at the end. “The Party’s Over” is a short, three-minute song. It sets another care free mood, but also sports melancholy tones. The clean guitars and piano and some light humming are all that is present here. “Canyon Crawlers” is close to seven minutes in length. The vocal harmonies are nice here, as the instrumentation is light and airy. It reminds you of being alone in a canyon, camping alone and enjoying nature’s bounty.

“Fallen Star” is another shorter song, leading in with solemn piano notes. The tones are both depressing and hopeful at the same time…moving forward with slow determination. “Who we are” is over seven-minutes in length. It moves with a slow pace and more dreamy tones. Around the half-way mark, it takes a new direction, but with more of those dreamy tones, coming mostly from soft, clean guitars and some vocal chants. “Who we are when we go away” he croons. It’s a statement, but I am not sure what exactly they are getting at here, although the despondence is noted.

“30 years” closes the album, at over eight-minutes in length. Clean and hopeful guitars lead the charge here, with soft and pensive vocals. It’s a story of longing, as the singer reminisces about “do you remember…” Around the half-way mark, it picks up a bit, with keys and slightly harder guitar notes. It continues on this path for just a spell, then it’s back to “30 years” being repeated over a fluffy bed of vocal harmonies and piano, finishing quietly with a long fade-out.

Overall, this was about as quiet of an album as I have heard in some time. The tones were pleasant and charming for sure, but there just really wasn’t a lot to talk about. The vocal harmonies were really on point however, and the guitars and keys provide a backdrop of atmosphere which was pleasing to the ears. One thing I will say is that listening to the album definitely took me away from my cares and concerns, even just for the short time it was playing…and isn’t that the point of music in the first place?

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Island
2. That Face
3. Descension
4. The Party’s Over
5. Canyon Crawlers
6. Fallen Star
7. Who we are
8. 30 Years
Jan Mikael Sørensen
Håvard Enge
Jan Erik Kirkevold Nilsen
Record Label: Apollon Records


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