THE SAMUEL JACKSON FIVE - The Samuel Jackson Five

The Samuel Jackson Five - The Samuel Jackson Five

11 songs
41:41 minutes
***** ****


With a name being made up of Samuel Jackson and The Jackson Five, you might expect some soulful blaxploitation tribute, but The Samuel Jackson Five from Norway are rather an instrumental rock band that started out in the early years of the millennium. At first they were considered a post rock band, although I am not familiar with their first three albums. Their fourth and self-titled CD sees them spreading out into different musical territories, which is best exemplified by the first trio of songs. The opener Never-Ending Now reminds me strongly of another Norwegian band, Jaga Jazzist, while the following Москва́ offers some eclectic post rock which feels much more structured and concise than what we have come to associate with that genre in the past. Then there is the three minute short Electric Crayons for which they hired the vocalist from Rumble In Rhodos, to come up with a nice Nineties sounding indie rock track.

It is striking that most songs on the album are generally short, which seems untypical for an instrumental band, and more often than not, I am not too fond of vocal-less music, as a lot of times something seems to be missing. This is not the case with The Samuel Jackson Five though. One reason might be that although there music is very guitar driven, the five musicians all play a lot of other instrument, and the occasional horn sections add even a more colourful touch. While the middle of the album is certainly not bad, I felt myself surprised that especially the second half surprises with many great songs. Ten Crept In is another vocal track with a pleasant indie rock vibe. A Perennial Candidate comes with a horns section that conjured images of early King Crimson. Tremulous Silence is the third and last vocal track, and possibly the album’s highlight, combining everything the band stands for into a seamless, perfect mix. Imagine indie, jazz and progressive rock all turned into one stellar cocktail! And Then We Met The Locals is with six minutes the longest track on the album, and also is brimming with tons of ideas and different sounds. Instead of slowly building atmospheres over tens of minutes, these Norwegians rather string different parts together into a unique rollercoaster ride. The album ends with a short two minute acoustic guitar track, a fitting conclusion to this great piece of music.

Forty minutes may seem a bit short for this kind of album, but The Samuel Jackson Five must have designed it exactly in this way to maximise the listening pleasure. There are absolutely no unnecessary lengths, everything comes straight to the point, and all of a sudden you understand that it is quite an art to come up with such a splendid, compact album full of rich ideas. The great science-fictional cover artwork only adds to the overall value of this product!

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