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Big Bang - Poetic Terrorism

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 3 / 12 / 2006

Big Bang - Poetic Terrorism
Label: Glitterhouse Records
Format: CD


Both timeless and borderless fifth album from engaging Scandinavian rockers Big Bang, who are a bestselling group in their native Norway

With its title I was expecting 'Poetic Terrorism' to be heavy going. From the ‘low-budget’ stencil graphics on the CD cover and the fact that the songs were inspired by the social unrest in the home of Bigbang’s main-man Öystein Greni’s Argentinean girlfriend, the album just didn’t look like it was the type of record to lift the winter gloom. But the opening song, ‘Saturn Freeway’, is all acoustic guitars, startling vocals from Greni and a melody which belies the darkness of the lyrics. It really is a superb opening shot and it shows the 3 piece Norwegian band might just have something here. Even though ‘Poetic Terrorism’ is the band’s fifth studio album and they have been in existence for 10 years I have to admit that I’m one of those who are hearing the band for the first time. To say I’m impressed would be an understatement. But most bands can open an album with a great song; the test is to see if they can keep that quality up over a whole album. Not only do Bigbang manage to do this but each song is different from the last. There is, obviously, some continuity; Greni’s vocals really do stand out and his guitar playing is simply wonderful but as with all good rock trios the rhythm section then has to be exceptional. Drummer Olaf Olsen is possibly the best drummer heard all year and bassist Erik Tresselt shows his worth; both Olsen and Tresselt add vocals and the group harmonise perfectly. The core trio is augmented by a number of guest musicians who add piano, strings and horns which all add texture to these songs. It’s unclear if Greni takes all the lead vocals, but if he does then he’s some vocalist. The only other vocalist who comes to mind who can tackle rockers and ballads with such ease is The Who’s Roger Daltrey. Indeed songs like ‘From Acid To Zen And Back Again’ could have been lifted wholesale from ‘Quadrophenia’ or ‘Who’s Next’. Even lyrically Greni matches the early Pete Townsend for a little comic relief. “So here we are but no cigar, idiots and electric guitars” he sings in the aforementioned ‘From Acid To Zen…’ it’s the best Who song Townsend and co. never made. Elsewhere Greni may sing “I’m not a Muddy Waters, I’m not a Rolling Stone” but there is little doubt that he could well pass for a Roger Daltrey. It seems strange that a Norwegian should be compared to the so English Daltrey but this band is a prime example of making music which not only is timeless( the songs sound like they could have been made anytime from the mid-sixties up to yesterday ) but borderless as well. For others hearing Greni’s vocals for the first time there must be very few who would ever guess that the band hail from Norway. It is debatable if any other rock band currently doing the rounds is as good as Bigbang. On the showing of these eleven songs it’s no wonder that the album shot to the top of the Norwegian sales lists during its first week of release. Even the band’s double live album ‘Radio Radio TV’ from 2004 has gone platinum. It’s no surprise the band’s back catalogue is still selling so well. If ‘Poetic Terrorism’ is your first encounter with the band it makes you want to check out their previous work, and fast! This is a faultless, timeless album and one that will open many more eyes and ears to the music of Bigbang.

Track Listing:-
1 Saturn Freeway
2 Fly Like a Butterfly Sting Like a Bee
3 Wherever You Are
4 From a Distance
5 From Acid to Zen and Back Again
6 Head over Heels
7 Not a Rolling Stone
8 On Your Mind
9 The Gullwing Groove
10 Going Home
11 Music in Me

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