With 7 releases now under their belt, it was probably inevitable that this bands name became a lot more familiar to a lot more people. Sure, this is Neo prog but the band have done a pretty admirable job with this release by trying to deliver a slightly more instrumental sound and yet doing so in a way that does not get lost in its own shadow.
With 9 original sounding songs ranging from 3.32 minutes to 7.20 minutes, Fruitcake have elected to not get caught up with too many long epics that can often mar a bands output. The songs presented here have that sharp and concise approach that lets you know the band is doing its job properly and not getting bogged down with excessive noodling or meaningless drivel.
Despite having 3 guitarists being listed as formng part of the current bands line-up, don't expect a massive attack of feedback or any fuzzed out sections as the band concentrate on using the keyboards to better advantage while the guitars provide that heavy and chugging backdrop when required. Long and soaring lead breaks are pretty scarce on this album which would seem a bit unusual given the number of six string slingers on board. Similarly, with a cast of 7 members, some additional vocal harmonies from any of the others would have added a nice extra touch. Perhaps their talents don't include any throat warbling.
Ketil Vestrum Einarsen has also joined the band providing some nice flute accompaniment and it would be remiss of me to ignore the fact that in parts, there is a definitive nod towards Ian Anderson's predictable yet riveting sound. The flute certainly adds to the overall appeal and gives that additional impetus on those songs where it is used.
Fruitcake's drummer and pipe specialist, Pål Søvik, sounds like many other Scandinavian vocalists when the slightest of accents gives the game away but in all fairness the sound is certainly not awkward or unusual and Pål gives a credible delivery on almost all but the softest of the songs.
So who do they sound like? Well track 9, "I've Taken Nothing" will have you thinking Ian Andersons had joined Gentle Giant as the crunchy riffs being accompanied by the flute definitely have that Jethro Tull vibe while not ignoring Kerry Minnear's style of arrangements. Similarities also include I.Q., Pendragon, Jadis, a slight influence from Genesis, especially on the first track and possibly even bands like Kayak.
While not breaking any new ground, (who is these days in the Neo prog spectrum), this is certainly a commendable effort and should appeal to those with a passion for the likes of those bands mentioned earlier. For a limited time, the first pressing will be available with a second bonus disc of other assorted songs recorded between 1988 and 2002.
2. Backwards Sounds
3. Lazy Timing
4. My Nights
5. Passion Impossible
6. The Smoking Gun
7. Once Upon A Naked Floor
8. Goblin Dinner
9. I've Taken Nothing
1. Pål Søvik – Power In You (1988)
2. Pål Søvik – Big Wave (1989)
3. Pål Søvik – Can You Recall (1989)
4. Fruitcake – Where I've Been (1995)
5. Fruitcake – Lost My Way (1996)
6. Fruitcake – At Midnight (1997)
7. Norway – Winds Of Space (1997)
8. Flagrante Delicto – Wait For Me (1998)
9. Fruitcake – On The Edge (1999)
10. Girl Grey – Marcabian Nights (2001)
11. Guardians Office – The Guardian (2002)