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Monday, November 15, 2010

Fenrik Lane - 317 album review

Fenrik Lane – 317 (Three Seventeen) album review
Released through: Melodic Rock Records Release Date: Available now.

You know it’s always something when you receive review material of an artist, that you really know nothing about and you’ve only been made aware of, in say the past six – twelve months, yet the band has been about since 1997!

Fenrik Lane who hail from Norway, is one such band who have recently been ‘discovered’ by owner of the popular website Andrew McNiece.
That said, although they’ve been playing since that time they have only, prior to the release of this album ‘317’ – Just what the heck does that mean?! – released, one album, an EP – Which apparently sold 20,000 in their native country. – and one single initially.

The band were originally a four piece band and previously featured, now fairly successful – In Europe - solo artist vocalist Kurt Nilsen.
Although Nilsen’s success seems to run on the back of singing cover songs, after some small success in the Norwegian Idol competition and then World Idol, before releasing some of his own material.

Anyway, getting back to Fenrik Lane, they are indeed now a three piece band, featuring Knut Glesnes on vocals / guitars, Christer Unneland (Drums, B/Vocals) and John Erik Soltvedt (Bass, B/Vocals, Piano and additional Guitars).
I have to say, they have quite a good strong commercial sound for a three piece, not unlike say Green Day meets U2 with hints of perhaps Coldplay and Billy Idol too.

It’s funny as this album is quite different to so much of what I’ve been listening too (AOR/Classic rock/Hard Rock) and I guess it made a change!

The album opens with the haunting ‘Megalomania,’ quite atmospheric, strong vocals and with a mid to up tempo paced structure, not unlike the first two bands I mentioned. Plenty of up front guitar sounds too.

‘Call Her Name’ with the very catching ‘La la la la la la,’ chorus is just so contagious almost punky, pop rock and seriously how can you not help but joining in with this song. Great fun!

With ‘Diamonds In The Waste’ it sounds initially very U2 like, even vocally sounding like Bono with a laid back sound and then the chorus picks thing right up with big vocals. Overall very good stuff and I am really not a U2 fan.
Fenrik Lane seem to have an ingredient - For me! - that U2 don’t and while I can’t nail it, it clearly makes for great listening here.

‘Paranoia’ runs with a punky, punchy kind of riff ala Green Day and if you liked American Idiot there’s certainly a good chance you’d enjoy this album. The band really has well structured catchy and hook laden pop rock songs a plenty.

Although the band may hate me for saying this – And making comparisons – I mean them in the best possible way, in terms of pointing out that if you like certain acts, you’re very likely to like this or whatever I’m reviewing at the time.

In ‘Runaway Car,’ more commercialism in a similar fashion to the acts already mentioned and what a strong and good voice Knut Glesnes has, I really mean that and the other guys back him up equally as well!.
These guys really deserve to be heard.

There’s almost a hint of ‘Hysteria’ (Def Leppard) to the way ‘Cover Your Eyes’ starts, although someone else may argue it’s a little Cranberries like! What ….?! The song builds with a slow intro verse before shouting out yet another strong chorus.
Do you get the idea I like this album?! ;-)
It has certainly got my attention after a number of plays.

‘Left Me Scarred’ starts with a quite different intro next, with a little piano and I was almost thinking, are we going to get an Abba tune here … Seriously! I began to wonder where it would go, but it takes on a very interesting path, with some great structured changes throughout. Good stuff!

U2 fans should love ‘Hot Lips,’ which pays homage to the M.A.S.H. cast member and the other show characters get name checked too. I also discover now, where ‘Three Seventeen’ comes from now too!
It becomes a very catchy mid to up tempo fun number!

The haunting ballad ‘Bulletproof’ is next which almost sounds odd in amongst the other tracks here, but it certainly shows these guys ability to switch things around.

Steady punchy, chug along track ‘Hello’ is next and again, just listening to the track a little deeper, you really start to grasp how much these guys have put into this album. What a great track, with a tasty little solo too! My favourite of the album so far!

‘Going Nowhere’ is certainly not! It’s simply another up tempo great catchy sing along chorus, almost a hint of Gin Blossoms too, with a little more punch.

A little moody perhaps is how ‘Hate How You Say Goodbye’ comes across but as throughout the album, still great catchy hook lines and a strong vocal performance.
If you ask me, the best thing that could’ve happened to these guys was Kurt Nilsen leaving and Knut stepping up to the microphone!
‘Sun Explodes’ is a beautiful power ballad of the highest quality, with the first two thirds very laid back and emotive and then the band kick in the guitars to rock out the end.

The final track here is ‘Russian Roulette’ which starts with dark layers and then the chorus kicks in to pick things up and rock things up here at the end.

These guys have really achieved a lot between the three of them and this album I’ve really enjoyed, which kind of surprised me and I’m still stunned that a major label has not signed them!
Good job Andrew! Good luck guys!
Rating: 4 out of 5

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