Norway - Full Moon 116 - 03/15/06
Det Glade Vanvidd
The Rest Of Det Glade Vanvidd 1984-1989
This release was a big and pleasant surprise! Det Glade Vanvidd (short DGV, meaning something like The Happy Insanity) was an underground phenomenon from Trondheim. So underground they even made a live recording in a railway tunnel. They started as a merry anarchistic dilettante combo in 1984. Three years later punk veteran Viggo Mastad joined and the music gradually turned into something not too dissimilar to punk and speed metal before the band eventually dissolved a couple of years later. The gang released two short cassettes on their own, two split-cassettes with other artists and two singles. By the last single in 1989 they had changed the name to Shakespeare In The Bush.
The early DGV has often been referred to as a Norwegian alternative to The Residents. Well, the music doesn't sound too similar to the far better known American mystical underground heroes. But the attitude and way to approach the music might be of a similar kind to the early Residents. The lack of instrumental skills were compensated by creative use of external and internal sounds and sound effects, humour, neck-breaking experiments, insanity of course and absolutely no fear of sounding different from everybody else. Drums, bass, accordion and flagpole were vital ingredients of the DGV-sound at the start. In later years guitars had a more central position.
I still find early DGV years most satisfying and entertaining. The debut Meat Det Glade Vanvidd (recorded in 1984-85) and their half of the split-cassette Dilletantenes Inntogsmarsj (meaning something like The Dilettantes Are Marching In) include the majority of classics. The lyrics of "Lov Song I" (Law Song No. 1) was written by one of Norway's most profiled and controversial authors of the 20th century, Jens Bjørneboe (1920-76). In his latter years, he was a spokesman (sort of) for the weak and the youth, and he was a part-time anarchist. "Lov Song I" is taken from one of his anarchistic plays: 'You ought to pay respect to the law, it's from above, from God ...' The lyrics are accompanied by hysterical vocals, ditto drums, metallic keayboards and guitars, car crashes...
Apart from being ironic about law and order, DGV took a closer look at the average male Norwegian in "Ingen
Problemer" (No Problems, ... 'Hey, hey, hey, I have no problems ... I enjoy the weeklies, country music and
the USA... I travel to Sweden, spend the night at a camping site ...' accompanied by accordeon and tuba); religion in "Salme" (Hymn) with extracts from real hymns, of course; judicial system in "Lov Song II" with a recording of a female judge reading the verdict accompanied by a dynamic rock'n'roll backing (honestly!)... etc. etc. Other songs are dealing with more personal matters, like the short and insanely merry "Jeg Er Død" (I'm Dead).
The songs towards the end are more structured, though not neccessarily a lot. Some of the vocals are as
hysterical as ever. In "Marx Brothers" (previously unreleased version) they sound similar to some of the frantic housewives in Monty Python's Flying Circus... The lyrics are dealing with anything from dadaism in "Marx Brothers" (both versions) to drug problems and the third world. With "Surfin' Beirut" they even went international with lyrics in English. The very last song "Jakob" is one of the least interesting, almost pure slow speed metal. Btw., after the end there is an uncredited bonus live song in the same vein.
It's a brave move to release an album like this. It includes music far off the well-trodden paths. It's
material from the archives, about 20 years old. The sound quality might be so-so, though it's really beyond
the point. My only real reservation has to do with the length. A few songs last too long, especially "Ut Av
Byen" (Leaving Town). The start and end with floating keyboards and howling wolves are cool, but 8 minutes in
all with a lot of fairly conventional guitars are too much. Also, the album lasts almost 73 minutes. It might
be too much insanity at a time. Mind, this is stuff that certainly won't cure your headache, on the contrary.
You're advised to listen only to a few tracks at a time. My most warm-hearted recommendation has to do with the musical stunts: you'll never find anything like it!
Copyright © 2006 JP