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Pingvinorkestern: Look – No Hands!

Here is one of the more interesting bands I have heard in a while. The Swedish band Pingvinorkestern released their debut album titled Push in 2014. From what I have read it was very well received. Their sophomore effort Look – No Hands! was released late summer of 2017 but I am just getting to it now.

This is certainly an unusual effort but one in which I find totally endearing, especially after a few spins. This didn't click with me immediately. I had to let the music soak in a bit to really feel its full effects. Although the band is hard to pigeonhole, I would say they play a sort of chamber pop/rock style heavily influenced by folk music. Bits of retro, psychedelic and jazz can also be heard. It is quite an eclectic batch of tunes with a wide range of instruments and a good mixture of acoustic and electric sounds being utilized. The use of acoustic guitar, flute and mandolin is a highlight for me. The vocals are also very good, both male and female having a relaxed delivery and are a definite plus for the band.

Quaint acoustic guitar and vocals highlight the short opening track "Stay", followed by the title track which immediately breaks into a more frenzied mood with frazzled electric guitar and addictive lead vocals. There is a hint of circus melody emphasizing the music's quirky nature. The gentle "Free Fall" is light and airy with an overall poppy feel and the lilting melody of "O.J.", laced with flute and recorder is another ear worthy number. "Happy" features a more distorted sound, very psychedelic with a heavy late '60s vibe. More highlights include the slow and nuanced folk rock of "Walk Slowly" featuring excellent electric and acoustic guitar and the Gypsy-like "Stora Moerdarbacken" with its engaging tempo fluctuations and pace changes.

Look No Hands! is quirky enough to reel in the avant fans while catchy enough to satisfy more mainstream prog/folk listeners. A creative and totally engaging effort so kudos to the band for an ultimately satisfying listen. Recommended.

Band members:
Susanne Johansson (vocals, violin, recorders, melodica, percussion)
Mats 'Lödder' Fredriksson (vocals, electric and acoustic guitars)
Stefan Dernbrant (vibes, xylophone, glockenspiel, flute, percussion)
Micke Wall (electric and acoustic guitars)
Shiny Mac (bass)

Track Listing:
1. Stay (0:56)
2. Look, No Hands! (3:58)
3. Free Fall (4:25)
4. Oj (3:56)
5. Happy (1:51)
6. Walk Slowly (5:52)
7. Stora Moerdarbacken (4:03)
8. Honk (3:14)
9. If You're a Dreamer, Come In (6:14)
10. Retour de Visite (2:55)
11. Save Me (7:06)
12. Likörcigarren (3:03)
13. Leave (1:48)

Added: January 17th 2018
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1470
Language: english

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