Haakon Ellingsen – The Plum Album

Before I start, let me tell you that you’ll have to hear this album at least three times, before you really get what’s going on here. Once you do, you won’t regret it! It’s a perfect template of what’s commonly being referred to as “a grower”, and that’s exactly what it will do, grow on you as a weed that you’ll never be able to get rid of.

Of course, there’s a couple of small conditions for this to happen. You’ve got to be a nerdy type, obsessed with anything (late)’60s related, you should own at least a couple of versions of SMiLE, with different track lists made on your own (but these two go together anyway, eh?), and of course, you should never be sure which one you prefer of the two musical twins, born two days and an ocean away. With the opening Sunshine Girl considered, neither is this Norwegian guy. It starts like classic Brian Wilson-like Americana, before McCartney takes over the melody, throws it back again, and gets ready for a new round.

The Teacher is a quirky little piece of popsike that makes even some of Syd Barrett’s stuff serious enough, Love To Be With You is a Jellyfish kind of a B-bands crossover, Dear Funny gets a bit jazzy in a Bacharachian way, while 100 Years Ago is as moody as the the darkest moments of Big Star’s Third/Sister Lovers … just as great as well. The closing tune, The Sky Police, happens to be the most conventional one, while being one of the best Badfinger tributes I’ve ever heard.

They say that one of the albums by Haakon’s ex-band The Last James, is one of the Top5 Norwegian albums of all time. I don’t know about the other four, but this one’s just got to be one of them!

[Released by Termo 2008]

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