The Divine Baze Orchestra - yet another fine band born from the land where great rock bands seem to be as numerous as the blades of grass in the meadow. Can it really be possible that a country with a population of only about 9 million can produce so many gifted musicians? Sweden is the 3rd largest music exporter in the world, after the US and the UK! Must be something in the water....or the long winter nights perhaps....whatever, it's a prodigious mother of invention. It was only a few days ago that I was raving about Siena Root when another fine band playing in a not dissimilar style weasels its way onto my player. Amazing!
The Divine Baze Orchestra are newer than Siena Root and Once We Were Born... is their first album, recorded over only two weekends as the guys could not afford more studio time. It's a polished performance, honed on a tightness developed on the road. The band lay down the backing tracks live on the first week-end before adding some solos, mellotron and vocals the second weekend.
What we have here on Once We Were Born.... is almost a straight-forward hard-rock blues album. The key word in that last sentence is "almost". The album takes a couple of numbers to become bluesy, "Dance" and "Choose Your Green" being nearer to a jazz-fusion, with the latter possibly slightly Zappa-esque.
I prefer it when the music becomes a bit bluesier from "Trota di Mare" on. There is some pretty slick guitar playing throughout, the music becomes quite heavy at times, aided and abetted by some heavy layering of organ and other synthesizers, including mellotron. The arrangements are quite effective, and give the music a 70s feel, although I must admit to preferring the organ to the synths/mellotron in this musical context. "Burned By the Sun", the closing number, finally loses that bluesy influence and is more like a straightforward, fairly fast-tempo, heavy progressive rock number with washes of mellotronics. My favorites are taken from the bluesier numbers: "Trota di Mare" and "In Search".
Whilst the music is very enjoyable, the overall feel is let down for me by the singer's voice. Singers can make or break an album and, whilst they are clearly something that varies very much with individual preference, I don't think that my taste is too far off the norm. For me, then, Alexander Frisborg's vocal is too thin in timbre and too high-pitched to suit this style of music and I disliked it sufficiently for it to taint my enjoyment of the album overall. So it is testament to the power of the music that Once We Were Born... still gets a highish rating.
And we hope to hear more from this band in future!
1) Dance (5:48)
2) Choose Your Green (3:53)
3) Trota di Mare (4:30)
4) Orange and Turquoise (6:06)
5) In Search (4:15)
6) Little Man (4:19)
7) The Person (6:05)
8) The Man From My Mother's Brother (6:21)
9) Closing the Circle (4:04)
10) Burned by the Sun (7:33)