Big-in-Norway band splits the difference between raucous rockers and studio shine, with schizophrenic results.
After pulling a Wolfmother by parting ways with his rhythm section after his band's first album, Norwegian rocker Oystein Greni decamped to Los Angeles, hooked up with drummer Olaf Olsen and bassist Nikolai Eilertsen and continued exploring classic rock tropes under the name Bigbang (no space, please) on Album Number Two, Edendale -- a record that's gone platinum in his home country, and hit U.S. shores earlier this winter. Needless to say, this record finds the trio in transition, unsure which direction they want to go in: Are they the chiming, driving rockers of "Call Me", "Bag of Leaves", and "Jumpsuit", or the (entirely too) mannered studio pop technicians behind "Swedish Television", the Fleetwood-y "Isabel", and "One Step at a Time"? On wax, it sounds like two different bands jostling for space on the same album, and neither making a definitive case for existence. While there's certainly no need to plant their flag in one genre (I'm thinking of blues-rocker turned studio whiz Ian Moore, here, who Greni sounds like at his best moments), Bigbang is still working on comfortably straddling the two.