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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 190 - 03/08/12

Rancho Relaxo
Happy Friday Experiment
Trout As Lubrication Records

Psychedelic shoegazer outfit Rancho Relaxo (RR) hail from Fræna, a small municipality (population: less than 10,000) located in Møre og Romsdal county, on the upper west coast of Norway. Maybe not the spot you'd start looking for psychedelic shoegaze space-rockers, but it's nevertheless quite pleasing to get introduced to a combo like this.

The band formed (and founded their label, Trout As Lubrication) as a one-man band in 2003, by Inge Kjetil Sandvik Malmedal, who started to make noise recordings to his 4-track cassette recorder. Some friends joined (the band became a band), and Inge Kjetil wrote and arranged songs for them to play. Today the quartet counts: Inge Kjetil (vocals, guitar), Ole Kristian Malmedal (guitar, organ), Martin Schram (bass) and Khalil Olsen (drums). To quote the band themselves, around 2006 Rancho Relaxo: arial h font'...moved away from improvised Spacemen 3 like tunes to a more trad take on music making. The new songs consisted of Byrds-like harmonies, jangly shoegaze guitars, tambourines, sitar and Paisley psychedelia. With 12 strings, lots of reverb, trippy melodies and some occasional fuzz freak-outs...'. The band list The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Spacemen 3, The Jesus And Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and The Black Angels as some of their 'soul-mates', or sources of inspiration.

Happy Friday Experiment is their 7th release (including EPs and albums, am I right?), and holds 12 songs of muddy and psychedelic rock. I don't get into all of their songs, or rather, the songs don't grab me. I'd preferred some stronger and clearer melodies, being or holding somewhat more substance. That said, I like the mood and atmosphere RR create. They're a true chill-out band of the aforementioned psychedelic bag. I like their attitude and coolness. So, if I'll probably won't play this album a lot, I'd like to give them a thumbs up for a very good effort. Some of my fave tracks include the indeed melodic "Intermission (green)", "See What I Have Seen", the stellar (or interstellar) space-shuttle "My Heart My Mind", the Eastern-influenced "Gandhi Is My Gun" (hmmm, must be a shooter of the peace-keeper kind...), and the closing "Into The Night".

According to the Trout As Lubrication Records label: '...they have released about 15 recordings by Rancho Relaxo, Blue Rhino, The Gun Brigade and The Press Plays. The label is involved in and supports everything from recording to the final release. Its not a money driven situation, its all about keeping music evil. The company is and always has been a independent operation.'

You'd better support your local bands and labels.

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