As I did the usual open and close on the CD player to give myself a quick preview of the new releases awaiting review, this one jumped, and I mean leaped out of the speakers. This Norwegian pop outfit rocks on this Ken Stringfellow (Posies, Saltine) produced CD. Sweden, Finland and Norway have some tremendous musical talent and this is no exception. Some examples of pop excellence from these countries have been produced by Eggstone and The Merrymakers I will do my best to tout Beezewax as a worthy contemporary of these great bands in the new media and power pop circles.
Lots of guitars and great vocals mark this recording. Coincidentally, the singer has the high, rich sound of a Ken Stringfellow. The overall recording has a rock vibe similar to a combination of The Posies Dear 23, the vastly underappreciated recording by the Canadian band The Grapes of Wrath, These Days and The Replacements, Tim. No way, you say. Yes way…this is very, very good.
Their press materials compare Beezewax to Hüsker Dü, Buffalo Tom and Bob Mould’s Sugar. Candidly, I hear the comparison in the guitars, but the vocals sound more emotive than those bands. A description might be that Beezewax does what Stringfellow did on his best Posies work: the sound rocks with heartfelt warmth as opposed to the frenetic, melodic anger that marked Husker Du and Mould’s Sugar and solo material.
The opener “Play it Safe” builds into a wall of guitars marked by, as I have described, a warm, almost frail lead vocal. Other highlight tracks are “In The Stands”, “Dead End Kids” and “That’s Not Here”. Again, the whole recording made me think of the early ‘90s recording Dear 23 by The Posies. I’d be very surprised if Mr. Stringfellow took the meaning of producer into way beyond “twisting knobs”. Most of the arrangements sound like Posies outtakes.
If you like your music with loud, rich guitars, and choruses that stick like glue, this CD will make you happy. Fans of “power pop”, The Posies, the Goo Goo Dolls (huge Hüsker Dü fans), or any of the bands listed in this review will not be disappointed.
I have a feeling that I will continue to like this even more as I give it some more time. Buy this.
// Notes from the Road
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