Friday, August 8, 2014

Major Parkinson (Norwegian Avant/Theatrical Prog): THUMBS UP!

So, I stumbled upon this name a little while ago per the fiveeightforums, as some discussion about Fjokra was brought up there. And at least 1 or more comparisons were to this Norwegian progressive rock band, who I'd never heard of.

And naturally, my high level of interest in Fjokra this year, got me both curious and skeptical, another band out there might be doing similar things to them, and maybe better.

Well, I can say while Major Parkinson do share some qualities to Fjokra, they also have a fair amount of differences. But, I guess over the last few weeks, listening to mostly their most recent LP from 2014, Twlight Cinema, my main take is just how good a band they are.

They make this sort of genre-bending, almost theatrical or dramatic kind of progressive rock. The vocals namely, are unusual. Their most prominent lead singer can sound like among others, Liam Neeson, lol. He sort of whispers or sings with less vibrato I suppose you could say. And his voice is much deeper than your typical prog or even just rock singer. But at the same time, he does sing, sometimes very emotively.

They even drop some pop-culture references here and there, as I recall a bunch of 20th century authors on 1 track, and another names some 50's and 60's actors.

I suppose in a way like Mike Patton or like one of the main singers in Pepe Deluxe who almost sounds like Frank Sinatra; and their sound/band actually I might compare Major Parkinson to, as much if not more than Fjokra.

But musically, they do progressive rock, using a lot of odd times, dynamic moods, using humor at times.

On Twilight Cinema, a song like "Impermanence" has this haunting melody that sounds like something out of a soundtrack. The piano driven hook stays in my head.

A song like "The Wheelbarrow" is very upbeat and catchy, and probably my favorite track on TC.

I've embedded all 3 of their LPs per their bandcamp page. I have not checked out their 1st S/T LP much yet, and their 2nd album From a Solitary Home only once, but I am enjoying the brief amounts of time listening to those maybe almost as much already as Twilight Cinema.

I'm not sure exactly if there is sort of a new genre of rock, or prog even that uses cinematic and circus style tones and dramatic or theatrical (cabaret?) sorts of melodies. In other words, bands like Pepe Deluxe, Fjokra and Major Parkinson might fit their own sort of subgenre. They all seem to be using a lot of kinds of influences and tones. From accordion, to trumpets to very distorted vocals that emphasize moods. Sort of heavily influenced by Mike Patton, Mr.Bungle. I might include Dog Fashion Disco in there, although in the case of MP, Pepe and Fjokra, they aren't really metal I suppose.

But Major Parkinson certainly have caught my attention. The fact their vocals are unusual, at 1st almost bugged me. But I have come/or am coming to see them as more interesting as they have grown on me a fair amount. Their singer really is a talented performer, and the fact he sings in such a deeper style, ends up complementing their music and probably makes it better because of it. Their music ends up sounding more original I suppose with the way/style he sings.

I likely will be spending a fair amount of time with these guys, and if/when the time allows, I may have to go into more detail about these records. But for now, I can say I already really enjoy their new album Twilight Cinema a lot, and wouldn't be surprised if I got into their previous 2 LPs as well.