The first proper album from this Norwegian band whose mini album Gravitation (see my review) gave an indication that something was afoot in Norway again.
Gravitation had a lot of jazz and what I would call college rock/pop. The band has largely ditched the jazz bit and gone for a more folk rock and symphonic classic music sound on Bridges And Boats. The music is sparsely instrumented with guitars, viola, violin, cello, piano, mellotron and numerous other acoustic instruments here. Most of it is backing up Lise Lotte Agedal's and Eivind Johansen's excellent vocals. Yes, that is both female and male vocals. Some of the vocals are done as duets.
There are both a lot of Renaissance and Fairport Convention over this music. Ditto for some nods towards Pink Floyd and The Beatles too. That gives this album a very heart warming sound which goes deep into the listener's hearts and then stays around for a long time. This music is indeed pastoral music and the roots of it can also be found in the first Genesis albums.
So far, so good. This is useless if the songs are not up to it. Well, here this album dishes up a great surprise. The music is not good. It is excellent. Truly excellent in fact. The songs are excellent crafted and comes with superb musicianship. The guitar solo on Anchor And Compass is one of the better guitar solos I have heard for a long time. The single track Strangest Dream and the title track is also excellent with Lise Lotte's truly excellent vocals.
Bridges And Boats is forty minutes of some of the best music I have heard coming out of Norway for a long time. And it is delivered with great conviction and belief. Kosmoratik is a band which I would put in the first long boat of the Norwegian, the Viking invasion of prog rock bands which is sure to hit your shores soon. Bring your family to the beaches and welcome them to your home. This is an album you need.