[18 July 2011]
Wobbler’s debut album Rites at Dawn sounds so much like 1970s Yes that it’s hard to know where to start listing the similarities: the shifting time signatures, acrobatic bass line, chirping organ, hyper-kinetic percussion, eight-to-12-minute song structures? Perhaps Andreas Stromman Prestmo’s vocals are a good place to start, as he mimics Yes frontman Jon Anderson’s layered alto with eerie accuracy. Guitarist Morten Andreas Eriksen rips out a nifty Steve Howe impersonation as well. Apparently, prog is alive and well in Norway, the band’s home turf. There are shades of Jethro Tull’s more orchestral outings—Thick as a Brick, Heavy Horses—in the mix as well.
Well, fine, but how are the songs? Not to belabor the point, but if you’ve been craving a little classic Fragile or Relayer-style Yes, you may have just found your new favorite band. Long tunes like “La Bealtaine” and “In Orbit” offer plenty of opportunities for the band to show off its impressive prog chops, and “The River” even offers up a rousing chorus to sink your teeth into. For rockers of a certain age (ahem) it all sounds uncannily familiar, but as the old saying goes, wait long enough and what’s old becomes new again.