All Rights Removed
(2011 - Karisma - Norway)
This is the second release by Norwegian progressive rock band Airbag. I liked the first one quite a bit but it was sometimes a bit stagnant in places. “All Rights Removed” has a more varied and altering aggressiveness to the atmospheric trademark of their debut. It’s still very much a Pink Floyd/Porcupine Tree lover’s CD. If you like either band then here’s your fix from the start.
It’s hard not to like this band’s emulation of the great Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree, as they probably do it better than any band I have heard so far. It’s also a nice treat to have the added influences of (late ‘spiritual era’) Talk Talk ,whims of Supertramp (‘Crime of the Century’) and touches of post rock.. The title track is as pleasant as can be, and clearly begins the David Gilmour/Steven Wilson drenched odyssey. I love it! This sublime combination carries you through track two (“White Walls”) , track three (“The Bridge”), track four (“Never Come Home”), but track five (“Light Them All Up”) throws in some twists with war effects and stays all instrumental. The ending track is a long one. “Homesick” (track 6) is an extended 17 minute 22 second P.T. festival. I was hoping for it, and it does, get slightly epic around the 7 minute mark. String pads galore and then the bass line starts pulsing in and you have the setting for the kill. A bit Ozric Tentacles actually for a few seconds. Sadly, by 11 minutes the crescendo has been reached and you are back in the somber seat with slow quiet keys and in a spacey mode with the Floyd ‘Gilmour’ lead again. I was just getting pumped up. The song soon picks back up but the listener is left to guess if it will get big again and drop off, and it does. I should call this the teaser song. Once you listen to this two or three times, you get over the fact that they jerk your expectation around over and over. You get the emotional roller coaster thing going on with semi buildups, then drop offs, then build, then drop, and you just pray for this huge epic ending. At 16 minutes you have one last hope. I’ll leave you in suspense.
The band describes this sophomore release as bigger and darker. I could see the dark part on only one track (“Light Them All Up”) as the rest of the music was really floating and liquid and easy on the ears. I still think this band can do some more powerful music and would love to see those wave crushing crescendo’s happen with a more post rock presence. I’d also welcome a more sporadic heavy sound. Overall, this is a very nice and perfectly solid CD. It may stay too laid back for it’s own good at times and the decision not to go huge on some parts might be the difference of a good recording and a great recording for many, including myself. But it is a good disc.
Reviewed by Lee Henderson - November 27, 2011