July 24, 2012

Review: Hasse Froberg and the Musical Companion-Powerplay

Hasse Froberg has been a member of The Flower Kings Since 1997, as vocalist and guitarist. When The Flower Kings had a break, Hasse used the opportunity to form a band to provide a platform for his own songwriting material which didn’t fit in with material used by The Flower Kings. This is the second instalment of the Hasse Froberg and the Musical Companion…..Powerplay.

From the opening few bars of “My River To Cross” to the last fading tinkle of the ivories in “Godsong,” this is a majestic album. Any thoughts of a Flower Kings Mark II are soon dispelled as “My River To Cross” moves through its 10+minutes, each musician showing their skills.
From very simple, almost sparse, melodies there is an effortless flow in and out of full blown “prog” but the encompassment of so many varied styles to produce such a superb album shows the skills, and confidence of Hasse and his fellow musicians….Kjell Haraldson (keyboards), Ola Strandberg (drums) and Anton Lindsjo (lead guitar).

The shorter second track,”The World Keeps Turning” shifts the emphasis of style slightly but has an instantaneous “hook” and leads into “The Final Hour,” the longest (12+min) track on offer and at a slightly slower pace which leaves you almost disappointed when it finishes. A great guitar break from Anton around 5 minutes, back to a vocal section, then Kjell on keyboards takes over, a little “Ba Ba Ba” background vocals (a hint towards the vocal harmonies of Moon Safari?), a flute appears leading to a psychedelic moment or two before the build-up to the coda.


“Waves,” my personal favourite (although only by a whisker) is a slow, steady, classic piece of progressive rock that gives way to “Venice C.A.,” which moves up through the gearbox delivering another slice of melody that re-emerges in your head a day or two later…when you least expect it.
“Is It Ever Going To Happen” and “The Chosen Ones” exude the sort of class that prog bands strive to achieve and although over 7 minutes each, the feeling is that they finish far too soon.

The shortest track “White Butterfly” is 2 minutes and 30 seconds of simple guitars and a plaintive voice and forms a tremendously powerful musical piece.

The closing track, “Godsong” is another example showing the versatility of the voice of Hasse with another powerful performance. A majestic “builder” of a song, eventually drifting off into silence with a piano ending.

Powerplay  is a simply superb album and should be in all prog rock collections. Once finished, you just want to hit “Play Again.”

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: My River To Cross, Waves, The Chosen Ones

Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson


July 24, 2012


 

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