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Wobbler, Norway


 
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Wobbler - Hinterland. 2005 Laser's Edge (USA)
Wobbler - Afterglow. 2009 Termo CD; 2009 Pancromatic LP
Wobbler - Rites at Dawn. 2011 Termo CD; 2011 Pancromatic LP

"Hinterland". Not since Anglagard, did a band receive so much attention before their debut release. There were plenty of folks trumpeting its release ("pass the torch", bla bla bla ...) and, not unexpected, a full gathering to say Wobbler are really not all that amazing - overrated, over-hyped, over whatever. Since there isn't a single album that everyone agrees is great, this point / counterpoint is bound to happen in the virtual progressive rock town hall. Personally I don't think we can have enough bands like Wobbler. It's analog keyboard heaven. It has the flutes, the woody bass, the active drumming, the loud fat acid guitar leads, the great production. It's rhythmically complex. It's dynamic with real climaxes and releases. It's an open ended style of progressive music, that allows for many avenues, crooked alleys and hidden piazzas. And it takes many listens to discover the various paths. So not every band is the all-time greatest ever, but if there were 50 bands operating in the Wobbler style, most would score very well with me. Either that, or perhaps we've reached a new pinnacle of cynicism, and you have to begin to wonder if you're even a fan of symphonic progressive rock anymore. Admit it, you stumble on something like this album in the record store: 1974 Polydor Norway. And you wave your hand dismissively and bark "It's just average - whoopeedoo". Yea, sure. Through it all, I can't help feeling bad for good ole' Sinkadus. They're really the only other modern band that went down this route in the 1990s, and they were just TRASHED for daring to walk the sacred ground of Anglagard. Time will most certainly be good to Sinkadus. Time has already been good to Wobbler. Bravo!

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Though "Afterglow" was released second, this is really a newly recorded version of older material dating back to 1999. Here, the sound is more obviously influenced by Anglagard with mellotron, heavy guitar, grungy organ, flute, woody bass - the whole package. So definitely closer is sound to "Hinterland" than their newest release "Rites of Dawn". Easy recommendation for those into the heavy early 1970s sounds of northern Europe. For me, I'm not sure I'll ever tire of this sound. The more the merrier. 

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"Rites of Dawn": My comments are going to echo many you've already seen - it's clear that Wobbler has made a conscious attempt at recreating the textures, sound and compositions of 1971-1972 era Yes. Personally I think it's a style that has plenty of room to improvise and innovate in, and apparently Wobbler agrees with me, as this is a wholly original work within an obvious context. As such, I find many of the parts quite exciting, with vicious Rickenbacker bass, mellotron, organ, and loud acid guitar leads way out front. Some of the acoustic guitar work recalls other British acts of the early 70s. So the band has clearly cut ties with its Anglagard/Sinkadus early 70s retro-Scandinavian past, and migrated towards the British Isles, just as their ancestors did 1300 years ago. Works for me.

For dyed-in-the-wool old school progressive rock lovers, like me, this one is a no brainer pick up.

A great band, who to date has resulted in auto-buy status.

Comments

  1. Both SINKADUS and WOBBLER are (were) great bands. On the top of my current prog list. I never understood why they were trashed; they bought a breath of fresh air to an "outdated" (at the times) genre and they did it solidly strong, even at par with the 70s "heroes".

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