This one’s been on the list for a while, but 2021 proved packed beyond means. So, as we ease into 2022 Norway’s answer to the current wave of Cosmic Americana comes in clear through the speakers. The band’s eponymous record owes a good debt to The Allman Brothers and, in a lot of places, bands like Mountain or Ten Years After. The latter seems pretty obvious just given the name alone. Though from a contemporary standpoint, this could also slot in real nice next to any Howlin’ Rain release on you shelf. The band feels far removed from their Scandinavian environs, seeming much more at home in the American South or perhaps closer to the West Coast. The opener choogles to a slow simmer, pounding out some barroom piano like Hans Chew was in the mix. “Stand Back” gets itself into a mud-splattered groove, and “Don’t Leave Me” trades light-limbed licks with organ swell.
When the guitars get loose, the band excels, letting themselves ride a sunshine soul over the horizon. They do tend to lean into Blues holdovers a bit more than most of the new crop, which can sometimes pull this one towards pastiche, but when they temper the British Blues impulses, the record winds up a promising debut. Kitted out with a psych-splattered cover from RSTB fave designer Callum Rooney, the band’s working out a pretty solid aesthetic and they should definitely be on the radar in years to come. If you’re in need of something to scratch that ‘70s itch, Years After have you covered.
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