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Oak: Lighthouse

Trust those Norwegians to produce an exquisitely beautiful piece of music. Oak is a four piece progressive rock band from Oslo. Their debut album Lighthouse was originally released in digital format in 2013 but is now available for the first time on CD and vinyl.

The players are Simen Valldal Johannessen (vocals, lyrics, keys), Ole Michael Bjørndal (guitars), Øystein Sootholtet (bass, guitars, additional keys, programming) and Sigbjørn Reiakvam (drums, percussion, programming, additional keys and guitars). Guests include Henrik Skjervum (guitars on "Lighthouse" and "Munich"), Steinar Refsdal (sax on "Lighthouse") and Airbag guitarist Bjørn Riis (lead guitars on "Fire, Walk With Me").

Lighthouse perfectly fits that melancholic Scandinavian sound. The mood is atmospheric and the sound palette very textural, you can almost feel the forlorn tones dripping through the speakers. If you enjoy the music of Airbag, latter day Anathema, Gazpacho and The Pineapple Thief I can safely say you should get a lot out of this album.

Moody keyboards and choral vocals begin the disc in the lovely but short "Prelude" before the album proper begins with "Home" where slightly subtle riffs and a wonderful vocal arrangement with mellifluous piano conveys the melancholic sentiment. The delicate side of Johannessen's voice shines in the gentle 'Perceiving Red" reminding me of Anathema as does the slightly more ambitious "Munich". "Stars Under Water" offers another stunning vocal performance as well as some heavier guitar and keyboard moments whereas "The Sea" features smart percussion and drums and another lovely melody. The tasty guitar courtesy of Bjorn Riis in "Fire, Walk With Me!" is another highlight.

Oak has really impressed me with Lighthouse. The subtle nuanced effects and beautiful melodies really got under my skin making this an album I will not soon forget. Its melancholy textures make this a perfect album for the fall and winter season and one I recommend to all fans of Scandinavian prog.

Track Listing:
1. Prelude
2. Home
3. Perceiving Red
4. Munich
5. Stars Under Water
6. Interlude I
7. The Sea
8. Fire, Walk With Me!
9. Interlude II
10. Where Did The Summer Go
11. Lighthouse
12. Postludium: Walk Of Atonement

Added: November 6th 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2301
Language: english

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