Sea Of Tranquility

The Web Source for Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal & Jazz-Fusion
  Search   in       
Main Menu

Arabs In Aspic: Pictures In A Dream

Fifteen years in and five albums down the line, Norway's Arabs In Aspic are still going strong. Amazingly after that length of time, up until now I personally had never heard of this bunch at all; something put right through their Pictures In A Dream album. A little research suggests that AIA began life in the Stoner Doom mould, grinding their way through weighty riffs and weightier guitars. However since then and especially through their previous album Strange Frame Of Mind (2010), this band have morphed into an excellently realised 70s Heavy Rock outfit with bags of Proggy overtones. If you, like me, mourn the evolution of Black Bonzo into Gin Lady, then believe me when I say that Arabs In Aspic are a band to put that big spaced out of your mind grin back on your chops.

The music on Pictures In A Dream is superbly crafted and honed to near perfection, Hammond swirling keenly, guitars scything, while also wonderfully melodic. However while all of these aspects on their own would be enough to recommend tracks like the Deep Purple howl of "Hard To Find", the quirky bells and whistles (literally) and twisting riff of "Difference In Time", or the Bluesy burst of "Ta Et Steg Til Siden", it is the vocals which really raise this album from good, to must hear. That credit goes to guitarist Jostein Smeby, keyboard player Stig Arve Kvam and bassist Erik Paulsen (the band is completed by drummer Eskil Nyhus), who combine to scintillating vocal effect right across the album. However Rune Sundby from the 70s act Ruphus is also credited as "guest vocalist" and with it impossible to tell who is singing what, I'll simply say that whoever is singing whatever, whenever across this album, does a bang on job at every turn. The passages where multi-layered vocals come together are utterly fantastic.

That's not to underplay the songs themselves though, with the like of "Prevail To Fail" illustrating that Arabs In Aspic can also thrive through lengthier more obviously Progressive fare, just as convincingly as they do during some of the shorter bursts of Rock. However the standout moments arrive in the shape of the album's title track, which is so good it shows up twice; once, introducing the album in full on electric glory and once closing things in a far more relaxed acoustic setting. Even after numerous listens, I'm totally at a loss to decide which approach works best. Confirmation, if we needed it, that a good song is a good song no matter the setting.

Regardless of how immersed we are in the music we love, quality bands will still somehow elude us. Arabs In Aspic are undoubtedly a quality band and with Pictures In A Dream, I'm simply delighted to have finally stumbled across an outfit of such interest and worth and an album that seems to never grow old in my CD player. Don't let it pass you by...

Track Listing
1. Rejected Wasteland / Pictures In A Dream
2. Let U.S Pray
3. You Are Blind
4. Felix
5. Hard To Find
6. Difference In Time
7. Lifeguard@Sharkbay
8. Ta et steg til siden
9. Vi møtes sikkert igjen
10. Prevail To Fail
11. Pictures In A Dream (Acoustic)

Added: January 18th 2014
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Arabs In Aspic Online
Hits: 3387
Language: english

[ Printer Friendly Page Printer Friendly Page ]
[ Send to a Friend Send to a Friend ]


[ Back to the Reviews Index ]

© 2004 Sea Of Tranquility
For information regarding where to send CD promos and advertising, please see our FAQ page.
If you have questions or comments, please Contact Us.
Please see our Policies Page for Site Usage, Privacy, and Copyright Policies.

All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all other content © Sea of Tranquility

SoT is Hosted by