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Vestamaran: Bungalow Rex

Here is another new band for me. Vestamaran hail from Askøy, Norway and came into existence in 2019, with the members playing in previous bands. So just what does this band have to offer? Well, as the band likes to say, “this is low octane rock music from the Norwegian happy campers Vestamaran.” Now let’s introduce the band.

The players are:
Kristian Nicholas Lindseth (electric, acoustic, and slide guitars, bass guitar, piano, keyboards, backing vocals)
Jon Bolstad (drums and percussion)
Kjartan Ericsson (Fender electric guitars, keyboards, backing vocals)
Kjell Arne Kjaergård (lead vocals, synth, glockenspiel, percussion)
Endre Aasebø (electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitar, piano, synthesizer, percussion, backing vocals)
Guest musicians:
Michael Barnes (saxophone)
Eirik Marinius Sandvik (keyboards and backing vocals)

The band’s sound was surprising to me as I am so used to that Scandinavian progressive vibe, but I have to say this music is quite refreshing, very well played, and super catchy. They are certainly influenced by ‘70s rock, a little psych and even the ‘90s rock scene, ala Peal Jam and Blue Rodeo. The lead vocals and guitar work give these songs some great melodies and hooks, so much so one cannot help but feel good after listening to this album.

“Error Come Save Me” leads it off with infectious jangly guitar, fluid bass lines and fabulous lead vocals. The instrumental break has a psychedelic feel and is quite trippy with an interesting build. With “Risky Pigeon” I was reminded of Tom Petty at times and the guitar work is great throughout. The trickier rhythms add a proggier touch here and there along with the distorted guitar. “Swag” starts balladic and then hits its stride with slightly fuzzy riffage, background piano and melodic vocals. The band channels a little Pearl Jam on the fuzzy and jangly “Cutest Offender” and offers a bit of progginess thanks to some wonderful guitar playing. Really, the melodies and musicianship are stellar throughout the album.

As I mentioned earlier this is not your typical Norwegian band but that doesn’t make this any less satisfying. Bungalow Rex is a wonderful debut from Vestamaran, a band to watch for in the years to come.

An Apollon Records release.

Track Listing:
1. Error Come Save Me (4:20)
2. Risky Pigeon (3:32)
3. Swag (3:52)
4. Cutest Offender (4:03)
5. My Finest Eye (4:08)
6. Solitude (3:30)
7. Grustak (4:53)
8. Salt Chair (4:36)
9. Follow Me (3:23)
10. Only For You (5:26)

Added: July 22nd 2022
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 620
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Vestamaran: Bungalow Rex
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2022-07-22 16:47:09
My Score:

Not every album we review here at the Sea needs to be “progressive” or “metal” or “jazz.” Sometimes we just want something that makes us feel good, proud to be music fans open to new bands that reward us when we least expect them to -- simply because we gave them a spin. That’s what makes the debut from Vestamaran so appealing. The members of this expansive Norwegian band do, indeed, sound like “happy campers” on the immensely likeable Bungalow Rex -- an album chock-full of melodies galore, tasteful guitars and smart songwriting. My SoT colleague Jon Neudorf has already broken down the tracks; I just want to reiterate this record’s broad and timeless appeal.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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