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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Guitar Week: Bushman's Revenge - Thou Shalt Boogie (Rune Grammofon,2014) ****½

By Paul Acquaro

Is this the start of something new for the Bushman? The Norwegian power trio who has brought us such brutal gems as Jitterbug, A Little Bit of Big Bonanza and Never Mind the Botox seem to be merging some of their raw power with the textures of the Hammond organ, experimenting with new space and sounds on Thou Shalt Boogie.

This is not to say that the core trio has lost any steam, if anything the new instrumentation helps to accentuate the powerful moments in the music. The short opening 'I Am an Astronaut' demonstrates this to good effect, David Wallumrød's keyboards kicks off with an expectant chord stack, as Gard Nilssen's drums and Rune Nergaard's bass provide a solid foundation for guitarist Even Helte Hermansen to build a soaring melody.

Track two, 'Baklengs Inn I Fuglekassa' is a prog-rock epic. Starting with a spacious motif from the organ and guitar, the nearly 20 minute track just builds intensity, contrasting moments of atmosphere with pure rock. The following track, 'Waltz Me Baby, Waltz Me All Night Long' begins with certain lightness, the guitar playing the melody and the organ swelling below. The two play off each other expertly, working hand-in-hand to create a huge sound. Track four, 'Kugeln und Kraut' is classic Bushman's Revenge, it's tough, with heavy riffs, chunky rhythms. The last tune though is a real shocker, which I'll leave at that (no spoiler here).

While this progressive rock/jazz power trio has brought in a keyboard player on their latest, label mates, Elephant9, a progressive jazz/rock keyboard trio, recently brought in a guitarist for their latest album. I like the convergence, it's making for some great music.