Tonbruket - Forevergreens
(ACT 9814-2. CD Review by Patrick Hadfield)
The fourth record from Swedish band Tonbruket feels like a disappointment. Knowingly eclectic, it has a range of influences. The genre-busting music came from a period in which three members of the band, bassist Dan Berglund, keyboard player Martin Hederos and guitarist Johan Lindström, worked on a play at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm whilst drummer Andreas Werliin spent time on other projects.
But at points Forevergreens seems to lack passion and drive, with a few tracks sounding sluggish compared to the hybrid vitality of their earlier records. Some tunes take many twists and turns, as if the band have so many ideas that they have to move onto the next before really developing the first. For instance, First Flight of a Newbird has three major changes of direction in under five minutes. Passage Europa has barely got going before it is finished.
There are elements of 1960s prog in the mix, with a nod to Pink Floyd circa Echoes, as well as some more rock influences, too. There're classical and folk elements too. Indeed, jazz seems to be the least part of Forevergreens. The effect of all these genres clamouring for attention can be quite jarring – going from the pastoral froson to the hard edged Linton is a shock.
Individually, there are several notable tunes. Sindakus builds slowly, featuring the ethereal vocals of Ane Brun who also contributes the short spoken word Intro. The much rockier Tarentella and Linton top up the energy reserves; Music for the Sun King is a gentle bucolic tune which highlights Lindström's guitar. The closing Polka Oblivion is very evocative as the rhythm becomes increasingly intense. But overall the whole seems less than the sum, the result feels like an unsatisfactory pick-and-mix rather than an unexpected juxtaposition of sounds.There is a lot in Forevergreens, maybe too much as it chops and changes. Whilst this might reflect the music's theatrical conception, it left me wishing for more development within the music.
Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographs, and sometimes blogs at On the Beat. Twitter: @patrickhadfield.