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Ossicles: Music For Wastelands

Ossicles is a very young Norwegian band having released their debut album Mantelpiece in 2011. That release passed me by but I have been fortunate enough to hear their sophomore effort Music For Wastelands.

The band consists of cousins Bastian Veland (vocals, electric bass, upright bass, guitars, keyboards) and Sondre Veland (drums, percussion, vocals, keyboards). There are also a couple of guests; Karin Makiranta (vocals) and Erlend Fureset Jenssen (saxophone).

I was quite intrigued to hear this band, especially since the first album was so highly regarded by Steven Wilson and Mike Portnoy. The music is very atmospheric and low key with lead vocals similar in style to Wilson. The guitars are not used for a mile a minute guitar solos but mostly provide textural chords and jazzier fills. At times a little more crunch is used but just remember this is a pretty mellow effort with the emphasis on atmosphere and texture. The keyboards, especially electric piano provide clean and effective splashes of colour to accentuate the band's penchant for jazzy rock flavourings. Also incorporated are cool effects and percussive elements, sometimes with a mild industrial sound.

"Halfway Homes" showcases mildly angular guitar chords and washes of keyboards. The faster picked guitar has a jazzy inflection before the tone becomes more ominous. The sublime atmosphere of "Darkroom" gives off a moody and experimental flair while the backing vocals add a pop element. Electric piano and a wonderful sax solo are certainly highlights. There is a subtle experimental edge to "Tectonic", another song boasting sax and sparse piano chords making for one of the jazziest tunes on the disc. On "Will It Last?" the keyboards are more energetic with plenty of pop while the guitar features tantalizing harmonics and liquid-like leads. Just a great flow to this one, with hints of Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd. Porcupine Tree can again be heard in the acoustic guitar led "Family Tree" whereas the jazzy ballad "Pail Summer Nails" features mildly dissonant textures and the classic sounding vocals of Karin.

Besides the intriguing music presented on Music For Wastelands, the recording quality is also very good revealing all the subtle details this music has to offer. Don't expect this one to grab you immediately as this music isn't brash and bold, no, it's much more subtle and introspective, ideal for headphone listening with minimal distractions.

Another highly recommended listen courtesy of Karisma Records.

Track Listing:
1. Halfway Homes
2. Darkroom
3. Tectonic
4. Will It Last?
5. Family Tree
6. Exit Wound
7. Pale Summer Nails
8. The Red Heart
9. Goodnight, Ghosts
10. In The Stereo
11. Girl With The Glass Eye
12. Pandemonium
13. Porcelain Doll
14. Music For Wastelands

Added: February 24th 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1905
Language: english

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