Band: Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion
Band Website: www.hassefroberg.com
Label: Reingold/ProgRock Records
Label Website: www.progrockrecords.com
Release Date: 2010
Whenever I’ve videos of The Flower Kings, I’ve always thought of Hasse Froberg as the “rocker” of the group. It always struck me just by watching him that he was the musically more aggressive aspect of that band. Well now that I hear his first solo disc Future Past I stand by my earlier observation. He is indeed the rockier side of the coin. Going under the banner Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion the line-up is: Froberg (lead vocals, guitar), Anton Lindsjo (lead guitar), Kjell Haraldsson (keyboards), Ola Strandberg (drums) and Thomsson (bass). The musical sound here is certainly vaguely reminiscent of the music of The Flower Kings and yet is very much its own.
There are nine-tracks on Future Past and four of them are over the ten-minute mark so in that respect you quickly see that Froberg’s musical direction is not restricted to shorter rock tunes. In fact while many of these compositions feature multi-part sections and change musical direction many times it is their direct approach that is perhaps most appealing. They’ve merged just the right amount of Styx or Boston styled stadium rock with loads of classic proggy elements and really made it work. There are fewer “frilly bits” in Froberg’s style and perhaps most of all the guitars sound heavier. Take for example the track “Fallen Empire” [10:20]. After the short sound effect introduction, “Sounds of the Empire” [1:27], the composition begins with a series of musical crescendos, before sliding into some acoustic guitar strumming and Froberg’s vocals. The first musical change-up occurs at the 1:24 mark as the song gets heavier and plodding in nature until the organ and chorus lift it into another more upbeat tone. At the 4:00 minute mark dramatic strings come in as the song completely changes direction. The strings sound mournful and end with Mellotron flutes. At this point the tune features more acoustic guitar picking. It’s delicate and plaintive. Slowly more instruments become prominent adding to the sound until the song slides effortlessly into the grand finale at the 7:00 minute mark. There’s lots more going on but you get the point.
Hasse Froberg & Musical Companion will have immediate appeal to Flower Kings fans, that’s obvious but I think there just may be some out there who’ve yearned for something a little bit heavier and Future Past is just the ticket. The performances are tight considering all the musical change-ups and the production is clean. Great stuff. Recommended.