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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 78 - 02/16/03

Seb's Hotel
Stickman Records

HGH, a.k.a. Hagfors Gebhardt Hickstars, serve their third album effort, the second as a duo. First came Pignoise (in 2000). Then Lars H. Haugen pulled out to focus on his "real" band (Hellbillies). Gebhardt and Hagfors kept on (inbetween their Motorpsycho & Home Groan workflow), and put out the second album Trash Grass and Love Songs (in 2001). This title sums up what they're about, as they call what they do 'trash grass'. Showing their love for country & blue-grass and related music done the simple way. Muddy, swampy gospels according to H&G.

This time they've used a Tandberg reel to reel tape recorder. Plain, good-old 4-track tech. Plus some added live taps (one clip shipped from a boolegger fan!). And as usual they're experimenting with instruments, the way to play them, to make new sounds, and such. Hagfors plays most guitars I guess, while Gebhardt dribble his banjos, ukuleles, and so on. The 12 songs on Seb's Hotel underline the charm of this side-project, but they'll probably please their little cult of die-hard-fans only (many of them Motorpsycho-heads I guess - included here is even a song tested by Motorpsycho).

Hagfors has written most songs, 4 is made by the two-some, while Gebhardt is credited for 3 of the tracks. To mention a few: the best tracks are their poppy "Sensory Pleasures" and Hagfors' very fine closer, "Looking Down". "Louy", another Hagfors composition, is fascinating with its rhythmical experimentation. And, yes, Gebhardt's "Lily of The Valley" is a charmer, with its 'distant love story': "Lily of the valley on the silent movie screen [...] I wish the lips she kissed were mine on that movie screen...".

Again, twisted charm is the keywords to describe HGH. But is charm alone enough? I don't find Seb's Hotel strong enough, so the question is how much longer this side project will go on?

Copyright © 2003 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our HGH article/review: Trash Grass & Love Songs.

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