Ex-Norwegian – Standby

January 01, 1970

(Dying Van Gogh Records)

www.stndyby.com

 

What’s in a name? Potentially plenty when a band dubs itself
Ex-Norwegian and there’s not a Scandinavian expatriate in the bunch. Admittedly
though, it’s a considerably better handle than the moniker given its
predecessor, the absolutely incongruous Father Bloopy.  Fortunately, there’s reason enough to forgive
the band’s lynchpin, Roger Houdaille for his strange choice in nom de plumes;
whatever his shortcomings in that regard, it doesn’t diminish his melodic
prowess or his ability to inspire a rousing performance from his collaborators.
Consequently, this new trio – Houdaille (vocals, guitar, mellotron, synths),
Carolina Souto (bass) and Arturo Garcia (drums, percussion, vocals) – make
amends with a stirring debut that’s chock full of exuberant, exhilarating
performances and a unerring pop sensibility that’s both brash and
irresistible. 

 

In truth, Standby isn’t so much a variation from Houdaille’s Father Bloopy guise as it is a
further affirmation of his melodic abilities, newly bolstered by an assertive
stance and a modern rock regimen. The staccato rhythms of “Fujeira In My
Dreams,” the unrelenting pace of “Pow3full” and the steady stomp and surge of
“Dance Trance Pants” all testify to the band’s revved up delivery, confidence
and poise. What’s equally impressive is Ex-Norwegian’s ability to flirt with
radio-ready possibilities, be it with the pop-perfect “Sad Wonder,” the buoyant
refrains of “Fresh Pit” or the percolating “Add Vice,” which, coincidentally or
not, retraces the sound of the soul classic “What Becomes of the Broken
Hearted.” So no matter what name they paste above the marquee, Standby is nothing less than a standout.

Standout Tracks: “Add Vice,” “Sad
Wonder” LEE ZIMMERMAN

 

 

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