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Karlsen, Steinar: Destination Venus

Bumping and grinding with a gritty vintage, Norway’s Steinar Karlsen is set to take us to Destination Venus, so strap in, prepare for some garage rock that wants to space out and reach for the stars as the surf sound is given a Shadows twist and a much more 60s base. The launchpad is set and the burners are hot as “The Goodbye” starts the countdown, “Night Flight” instrumentally asking if we’re all enjoying the speed of light flight into the dark abyss. Oddly, “The Karman Line” takes this space fixation and brings a wah-wah-waaaaaaaahhhhhh of Morricone and his westerns of spaghetti, the echoing lilt offering a keen counterpoint to some low hitting organ notes that are more scene setting than headline grabbing. However, it’s that ability to layer little darting playoffs against one another that takes what could have been a one dimensional space walk and move it into a full blown, big picture event that draws you in.

Karlsen himself plays it cool daddy-o, his guitar so low slung that he’s just about grazing the daisies with it, but when “Picnic On The Moon” adds a playful jaunt to the more serious overtones, that he can also supply a lightness of touch serves this album well. With “The Trip” taking this space extravaganza into Latin territory through some hard spanked percussion and lively organ/guitar interplay, there’s also an understanding that there’s a need to ensure that for any passengers refusing cryo-sleep for this long journey, variance is key in keeping the attention - even if it is supplied in a way that fits perfectly with the over all theme playing out.

Surprisingly, “Venus” itself somehow infuses the merest hint of Roxy Music into the mix and while that feel may fleet for only a fair few seconds before settling back into the relaxed surf setting, it does also do a perfect job of illustrating the less serious side of Destination Venus and the very reason that even with some tried and tested starting points, it remains an album that can and does play fast and loose with expectation. Add in some excellent musicality and Steinar Karlsen somehow manages to take his thoroughly vintage Venus landscape and turn it into a destination for the here and now.

Track Listing
1. The Goodbye
2. Night Flight
3. The Karman Line
4. Weightless
5. Picnic On The Moon
6. Space Camel
7. Monsters
8. The Trip
9. Red Skies
10. Venus
11. A Billion Stars
12. Acid Rain

Added: December 5th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Destination Venus on bandcamp
Hits: 182
Language: english

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