By Paul Acquaro
I've enjoyed listening to albums by the Norwegian power trio Bushman's Revenge over the past couple years, but their latest offering is the most impressive by far. 'A Little Bit Of Big Bonanza' is a powerful collection of tunes, that while downright heavy at times, also seems to be constructed with a little more attention to dynamics and composition than previous offerings.
The album kicks off with the appropriately melodic 'As We Used to Sing', a Sonny Sharrock tune whose almost hummable melody is unpinned with some fierce drumming and fine fuzz bass. Then there is 'John Lennon is The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived' which features finger picked acoustic guitar, a melody driven by descending bass notes, and a delicate brush pattern on the drums. It is reminiscent of the Nels Cline Singers and the inclusion of Gard Nilssen's vibraphone is a key element.
A little after half way into the album things really begin to open up. '4E73' features a spacious arpeggiated melody underpinned by sonic textures that hint vaguely at sage brush and prairie, and it slowly swells into 'Tinnitus Love Poem' which has become one of my favorite tracks. It follows an evocative emotional arc as the guitar builds, bends and breaks your heart.
But worry not, while they may have briefly shown a subtler side, tunes like 'Iron Bloke' and 'Hent Tollekniven Ivar Det Har Stranda En Hval' are hard driving affairs. Replete with churning baselines and driving riffs, Even Helte Hermansen's guitar is incisive and cutting, Rune Nergaard's bass line is insistent and Nilssen's drums pulsate strong and free.
Overall, the songs and playing here feels a little more considered and varied than past recordings. While not jazz, the complex free rhythms and improvisational approach give this music a complexity and sophistication that goes beyond rock or metal as well. On the heavier side, but well worth a listen.
You can download the mp3 version from eMusic, and note that there is a companion LP called "Never Mind the Botox" which is available from Rune Grammophone.