‘Dulcima’ Review: Record Heaven (English)
19th September 2009
British singer/songwriter Rhys Marsh moved to Norway partly for the scenery, partly for a girl and partly for the music. Once here, he quickly positioned himself in the internationally reknowned scene of modern Scandinavian progressive rock, singing on The Opium Cartel’s critically acclaimed debut album, becoming the lead singer of Norway’s foremost prog band White Willow, and releasing a much-lauded solo album with musicians from Jaga Jazzist and Änglagård. With his sophomore effort, “Dulcima”, Rhys takes a quantum leap forward. Where his debut was an introverted, quiet but beautiful foray into David Sylvian and Scott Walker-land, his new album is full-tilt, intense modern progressive rock that will appeal as much to fans of Muse and The Mars Volta as to fans of David Sylvian and King Crimson. Rhys is using the absolute cream of the crop of Norwegian and Swedish musicians: Mattias Olsson from Änglagård and Ak-Momo, Ketil Einarsen from White Willow and Jaga Jazzist, White Willow vocalist Trude Eidtang and Wobbler keyboardist Lars Fredrik Frøislie. The result is a mixture of classic sounds — mellotrons, analogue synths and fat guitars abound — and a modern sensibility, with an in your face production and ultra precise playing. The songs are rich in contrasts and dynamics, changing on a dime from serene and meditative to loud and menacing. There are also elements of middle eastern melodies and the exotic drumming of japanese drum wizard Takashi Mori.