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Major Parkinson - Blackbox

Major Parkinson
Blackbox
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 13 December 2017, 7:07 AM

Progressive Rock band MAJOR PARKINSON formed in Bergen, Norway, in 2003. To date the band have released four full-length albums. “Blackbox” is their latest offering, containing nine new tracks. “Lover, Lower Me Down!” is the album’s opening track. A steady drum beat provides the rhythm, with keyboards hanging in the background. The low vocals are almost spoken words as opposed to actual singing, and David Bowie-esque for me. There are some ambient passages with violin and clean guitar notes, but the instrumentation is kept pretty minimal; at least until the crescendo at the end. “Night Hitcher” is a little more upbeat; once again with a repeated drum beat as the backbone. There is definitely a darkness pushed here, in this amalgam of Prog and Pop sound. What it doesn’t have is a lot of warmth…that steady drum beat and electronic notes provide a cold sound.

“Isabel – A Report to an Academy” is a ten minute movement. At this point the common sound that is sewn through the album is pretty evident. It is quite unique and eclectic, as well as a bit hard to describe fully. Here we have our first clean female vocals, as well as some angry male vocal passages. Guitars have a little more presence here but still remain in the background. The song twists and turns with changes as well, ever shifting. “Madeleine Crumbles” swings with some soulful rhythm. The combination of that hypnotic drum beat, muted keyboard notes, and xylophone is quite interesting, indeed. I can’t place where I have heard this type of sound before, save for the general note that it seems to have been inspired by perhaps the experimental New Wave sound of the 1980’s. “Baseball” is a second epic song, at close to eleven minutes. Organ notes and hushed, dreamy vocals lead off the sound. Before too long, jovial piano and violin notes dance heartily, but quickly give way to angry vocals and tough brass instrument notes. There is nothing common or orthodox about this track. If music were a box, it pretty much hits the corners in nearly every border.

“Strawberry Suicide” is the third of three shorter tracks on the album that feature piano and keys as the main sound. The song is a little more linear but those low hushed vocals still lament. The title track, “Blackbox,” closes the album. The fat saxophone notes and brass instruments work against the range of the female vocals, but with the range of the male vocals. Again, the array of different things you hear in this song is quite vast. As a whole, this listening experience was, well, strange. The beauty about Progressive Music is that the boundaries are non-existent, you can always be surprised at what you might hear, and much of it is different. That is certainly the case here. This will be a very individual listening experience and if I didn’t have to, I would not provide a rating. But alas, I will, and will end with my recommendation to check it out if you have an open mind and a hankering for something out of another dimension.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 9
Memorability: 6
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Lover, Lower Me Down!
2. Night Hitcher
3. Before the Helmets
4. Isabel – A Report to an Academy
5. Scenes from Edison’s Black Maria
6. Madeleine Crumbles
7. Baseball
8. Strawberry Suicide
9. Blackbox
Lineup:
Jon Ivar Kollbotn
Eivind Gammersvik
Lars C Bjørknes
Sondre Veland
Sondre Skollevoll
Øysten Bech-Eriksen
Claudia Cox
Record Label: Karisma Records
     


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