WOBBLER - Dwellers Of The Deep

Wobbler - Dwellers Of The Deep

4 songs
45:41 minutes
***** ****


The first big Scandinavian vintage progressive rock revival started in the early Nineties with Änglagård and Anekdoten. Norwegian band Wobbler were founded in the late years of that decade, but it took them until 2005 to come up with their debut Hinterland. Since then a lot of time has passed, with Wobbler staying quite busy, making Dwellers Of The Deep their meanwhile fifth longplayer.

Not much has changed since their previous effort From Silence To Somewhere from 2017. There are still few but mostly long tracks. The opener By The Banks makes it over thirteen minutes, and shows from the start that Wobbler really feel at ease on those generous pieces. There are tons of different parts and movements, the atmosphere is a little gloomy, and everything sounds like taken from the first half of the Seventies. Yes seem to be a big influence, especially the sound of the bass guitar and the high vocals, but Wobbler have a less airy sound. There are also hints of Genesis and Gentle Giant, sometimes even a little Canterbury flair, but also the aforementioned Swedish bands that started the trend in Northern Europe.

The following Five Rooms, despite its eight-and-a-half-minute length, is the album’s first single for which they even made a video clip. This song starts in quite a pastoral way but soon turns into a straight-up rock song. This is the most accessible track on the album and shows that Wobbler don’t always have to be weave endless epics to win over the listeners’ hearts. Naiad Dreams is at a little over four minutes the album’s shortest piece. It’s a ballad performed mostly on acoustic guitar and glockenspiel. At first it felt like a disruption, but repeated listening unravelled the song’s charm. The album’s centrepiece is the nearly twenty-minute-long Merry Macabre, a true tour de force that surprises with tons of great ideas from its beginning to its end.

Lately I got the impression that Norwegian retro prog has been overshadowing the Swedish movement. Bands like Tusmørke, Ring Van Möbius and of course Wobbler give a whole new coat of paint to the vintage progressive rock sound from way back when the genre was still young. In these times where more and more people just want to consume bite-sized three minute pop songs, bands like Wobbler are a gift to all of us more demanding listeners.

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