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Magnolia: Steg For Steg

From the black and white image of the three members of Swedish rockers Magnolia and the plain type face used for the band logo, there is a whiff of retro about Steg For Steg (which would appear to translate into Step For Step). That whiff becomes an overpowering waft as soon as the firm bass line, clanking ride cymbal and soaring guitar of "Alla Undrar" (by now you don't need me to tell you that Magnolia sing in their native Swedish) and by the time the ten tracks have been and gone, you have been taken on a whirlwind tour of late sixties and early seventies rock icons Cream, Blue Cheer and Mountain, as well as countless other bands from the same era.

That said what Magnolia have managed here is to recreate the sound of an era without actually feeling the need to rip off any actual bands or songs from the time. Yes, it's hard not to be reminded of Cream while listening to "Tis at farra", and Blue Cheer are never far from your thoughts during countless moments of this album, however it isn't a case of spot the riff, more the overall vibe of a band that firmly believe they were born too late. Sound wise the album manages to evoke days gone by, as the drums sound a lot more "open" than most new releases. The toms, bass and snare breathe in a way that suggests they were recorded live in a big open space like Zeppelin used to, while the gritty earthiness of the guitars leaves a full and rich taste. Just listen to the floating six string wails on "En ny dag" that sound like they have been brought to your ears by a swirling wind and it is impossible not to be reminded of the deft touch of Hendrix, however once more it is a more a case of being influenced by the great man, rather than aping his style. The instrumental "Arbetar i solsken" contains a beautiful guitar line that is once more backed by a gloriously full drum and cymbal sound, while the Hammond punctuation lifts the whole bluesy melody into the best rack on the album.

Vocally Ronny Eriksson has an unsubtle roar that just adds hugely to the rough around the edges fuzz of guitars and his bass work is the cornerstone that the rest of the music sparks off, allowing Mark Tholin loose on the guitar and Hammond organ, while drummer Anders Hedstrom uses the booming sound he has been provided to great effect.

The odd song does lose a little focus here and there, however in general Steg For Steg set out to whisk you back to a time when music was more substance than style and in that respect it's job done.

Track Listing
01 Alla undrar
02 Tid att fara
03 En ny dag
04 Nu får det vara nog
05 Arbetar i solsken
06 Ingen kommer undan
07 En tanke
08 Mantra
09 Jag vandrar
10 Vad skall jag göra ?

Added: May 6th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Band's MySpace Page
Hits: 2130
Language: english

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