The Island

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Apollon Records Prog, 2020)

Karakter: 4/6

LAUGHING STOCK The Island album cover.jpgThe Norwegian act Laughing Stock dabbles in neo-progressive rock with prominent folk undertones to it, and this nine-song effort of theirs (eleven if you include the two bonus tracks) is quite interesting in that it is oftentimes gentle and mellow and yet darkness and melancholy constantly shimmer underneath the whole affair. The cool thing about “The Island” is that it moves more or less seamlessly from one end of the spectrum to the other, and it contains an oppressive and bleak aura ala early King Crimson that might take the listener a little while to truly absorb, but there are countless nuances and plenty of light and shade in play on the record too. However, despite its awe-inspiring ideas it does not manage to retain its momentum all the way through due to some of the melodies not carrying any notable sense of depth or emotion as well as a number of passages that feel slightly meandering and without aim or focus. The musicianship is stellar and the production both enhances and adds to the vibe of the songs and lyrics, so no complaints there whatsoever.

 “The Island” slides back and forth between soothing and darkly haunting, which is pretty wicked, and I cherish its ability to sound pastoral and dream-like one minute and then turn into a raging storm that is cinematic in scope and yet strangely intimate and introspective the next. Even though it is not as solid or all-out compelling as it could have been, it is most definitely an interesting record and a dense piece of work where contrasts wrestle and clash with each other to great effect. Worth investing your time in and keep in mind that its calm, meditative qualities might just do wonders for your mind in times like these.


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