Friday, December 28, 2018
Reloaded Norway Breaks The Mold On Their Sophomore Effort
Reloaded Norway is: Heidi Kvalholm (Vocals, Diva, fun and campy lyrics)
Tony Caddle (Bass, bottom end and rhythm maker)
Hans Trasti Isakesen
(lead guitar, super fluent and memorable)
Jarle Borresen (keyboards, especially the Hammond B3)
Lars Ove Fjelldahl (funky drum beats and fills)
Guitarist Hans Trasti Isakesen drops a riff that finds you somewhere between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Ted Nugent on the lyrically cheeky "Up Yours". Lead singer Heidi Blasmo has you convinced that she is a martial artist and will plant her boot where the sun don't shine. Right away the listening experience is not your typical paint by numbers blues...
Welcome to Reloaded Norway. A legitimate blues rock band from Norway. Yes I said Norway. It's in their name! How legit are they? Currently they are all over the American Roots Music Charts. Bands from Norway aren't supposed to do that. But the more you listen the more you are convinced that this unlikely band are the real deal.
Their sophomore album, The Longest Mile is making cross continental waves and breaking down all kinds of musical boundaries in the process. What makes this album so good are the greasy vocals of Blasmo combined with a smart contemporary gloss that permeates these grooves. A great example of this is on "Saturday Night Diva". A funky little guitar riff and some well thought out melodic changes. Heidi Blasmo tells the tale of a woman (likely her) who drank too much the night before and woke up next to someone she didn't know. The melody is way too catchy for traditional blues enthusiasts, but at the same time that's what makes it so endearing.
Another one of these gems is called "Bigger Balls". The band fully embraces American idioms and this song has a great contemporary rock feel and some very fluent guitar work. This is not the typical boring, repetitive blues stuff. It's bluesy but not bogged down. The band does attempt more traditional blues like on the album's title track which slowly builds as it engages the listener in more great storytelling.
"Devil's Kiss" kicks the pace up again with some great southern rock sounding harmonies and a Hammond B-3 that won't quit. "Majority's Mask" is another greasy smooth track that will fill both channels with entertaining instrumentation. In fact at one point lead vocalist Heidi Blasmo breaks into a brief rap. The groove is infectious. If that was too jarring for the traditionalist the band comes back with "Listen Now" which is more in the realm of Gary Moore or Sass Jordan.
"Definitely Maybe Baby" brings the band back to it's tongue and cheek fun with more infectious guitar work and campy lyrics. "Born Without Rhythm" keeps the party going and sets out to prove that this band has plenty of rhythm. The album closes with "I Pray For You", a very convincing spiritual old school slow tempo blues number.
In summary, once you get over the shock and awe of a band from Norway sounding like this, you accept the fact that they are an amazing group, and then you finally embrace them with your whole being. These are the three stages of acceptance. All it takes is 10 songs to bring you to a place of blues rock bliss. And in this case, that place is Norway.