One of the best albums of the year is here, perfectly timed with the arrival of the Scandinavian Spring Sun. Norwegian guy OLE BÖRUD has previously released two solo albums, and they're both high class releases. The first one was "Chi-rho" (Master Music, 2002), delivering melodic pop/rock cover songs with one foot in the modern way of producing them, while still remaining with the other foot in the world of AOR. It contained songs by the likes of WHITE HEART, PFR and others, performed in a flawless way. However, Ole then headed for self-made songs and turned into the soul/funk and westcoast style with his follow-up "Shakin' The Ground" (OBM records, 2008). The album was absolutely one of the best ones in this genre to see the light of day in the past few years... I've also been told he's got a metal band that's supposed to be great - it seems this Norwegian can handle any kind of music... And this new "Keep Movin" album might be his best to date.
So, what have got here then? Well, anyone into EARTH WIND & FIRE, TOWER OF POWER, DAVID FOSTER and PAGES can enter alert stage 1! OLE BÖRUD is what you all need. He's got it all: one of the best voices in the circuit, fantastic songs and arrangements - and then a 10-man band to back him up live! Some of them are involved on the album as well. The EARTH, WIND & FIRE vibes are imminent in songs like "Keep Movin" and "Make A Change". Same goes for the opener "High Time", which would also have made it to any TOWER OF POWER record. Also check out "Souls In Chains", with a simply marvellous 7/4 part with incredible horns and cool vocals in complex backbeat (well, I'm sure someone more musically educated than I, can tell it's not simply 7/4 - however that's the main beat anyway). The guitar and pass picking in the verse is nicely executed and shows the wide variation that Börud presents in his arrangements. It's absolutely one of the best tracks on this CD, although it's hard to pick. This song gives you westcoast and fusion in one and the same song.
And how about westcoast? Sure, even though this is not a westcoast album in the normal sense - it has got a few true westcoast masterpieces. One is "Broken People", and you hear it right away in the intro. Lots of PAGES here! It all gets so vivid too, when you get real instruments all the way on an album like this one. The horn section alone makes such a difference! It's magic! This is like hearing PAGES á la 2011, and you get weak at the knees. The harmony vocals (and the arrangements of them) are so smooth! They're signed and delivered by... well, Ole himself of course. There's also plenty of westcoast vibes in "Make A Change", added soul/funk in a nice mix. "She's Like No Other" is Ole's tribute to his mother, and it's a soul/westcoast tune somewhere in the neighborhood of GINO VANNELLI, PAGES and EDIN/ÅDAHL. The only major problem with this CD is: I have so many other albums to review, but it's hard to put this one aside. Being a westcoast fan, the only thing I'd wish for would be that the next Ole Börud recording will be a true westcoast album all the way through. It could be even better than the STATE COWS album (talking stylewise and songwise; the production and sound would probably beat State Cows by far). Did I mention Börud is also producing the "Keep Movin" album himself? And in a very dynamic way, too.
As if this wouldn't be enough #1: Some people just have it all. There are a couple of guitar solos by Ole, that both JAY GRAYDON and TIM PIERCE or DANN HUFF would have been proud of. How does he do it? One fine example is the slol in the final song "Resting Day"; another PAGES influenced tune where I also think of NIELSEN/PEARSON's self-titled album.
As if this wouldn't be enough #2: I mentioned the 10 man band backing up Ole Börud live. Well, I watched and heard them on 5 April 2011 in Stockholm. It was the best concert I have ever seen and heard live! The songs get another dimension, and it was such a flawless performance it had me almost knocked down. Take ANY chance you might get to attend to an OLE BÖRUD concert. You will be amazed.
Ola, my friend, this is for sure a 5 star album, 10 for that sake!!!
I highly recommend it, and at the moment, all songs are so great, that I can really give you any favs yet... This is a MUST, buy it for yourself, your friends, your family, whoever!!!