ARABS IN ASPIC – Madness and Magic
The fabulous Norwegian act that is Arabs in Aspic is undoubtedly one of the country’s most exciting and adventurous musical exponents of prog rock. Steeped in warm, eccentric 70s prog with a subtle dose of 60s psychedelia and touches of early Black Sabbath added, this outfit revels in long, sprawling compositions that are as playful as they are rich in color and depth. “Madness and Magic” is an entertaining listen and its songs are remarkably well-written and evoke a delightful sense of the surreal.
Sometimes it is groovy and rather laidback, other times it is borderline frantic and close to bursting with energy, but overall, it is always great fun to immerse oneself in its myriad of flavors, sounds, and influences. I still think that these guys are even better and more thrilling to listen to live than on record (just listen to “Live at Avantgarden”!), but “Madness and Magic” is undoubtedly a hugely dynamic and imaginative opus . Only the title track is slightly meandering at times; the remaining tunes are all utterly charming with “Heaven in Your Eye” being absolutely outstanding and a stroke of genius. Wonderfully entrancing stuff.