Norway - Full Moon 45 - 06/16/00
From out of Namsos - now based in Trondheim - come Tugboat with their
self-titled debut album containing 10 songs. On board the boat there are
two captains named Stian: Stian Wallum (son of the late Prikken Wallum,
one of the members of Prudence - legendary Namsos band of the 70's ) on
vocals/guitars, and Stian Stakset on vocals plus a variety of keys (clavinet,
rhodes, farfisa, synthesizers, glockenspiel, harmonium). The rest of the crew
count three members: Kai Kristiansen (guitars, banjo), Morten Strøm (bass),
and Joakim Pedersen (drums). Since Tugboat started in 1997 they've released a
split-7" and a split-EP. Now it's time to tow their own cargo.
The two Stians have written half of the songs each, and they show great skill
both in their song-writing as well as arranging. Opening track Eraser is
a laid-back, airy pop-rock tune, while The Nighttripper shows tugboat
from a darker side. The strength of Tugboat is the variation of songs and
moods - which may have to do with two song-writers matching each other quite
appropriate - like turning from the Beatlesque start of Sever the Weighted
Limb to the harder edge of Get The Picture which is a real tough one.
They've certainly picked some inspiration from Trondheim rock-kings Motorpsycho,
with good portions of 70's inspired fuzzy and monstrous psych-folk-prog riff-o-ramas.
But, hey, even Motorpsycho tend quite openly to borrow ideas from their idols. And
we're not talking copying, even though a few of the tracks (such as No Runner
Up and Empiric) sound quite motorpsychodelic.
My fave song is Stripped, which is a very fine pop-song with strings and
a nice guitar solo, but I also start nodding my head to some of the "heavier" songs.
The band is tight and sounds like a solid unit of musicians. Tugboat are probably a
good live band as well. So, an indeed decent debut.
Distribution in Norway: Tuba!
Copyright © 2000 Håvard Oppøyen