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The Guardian’s Office

The Guardian’s OfficeThe Guardian’s Office (TGO) is a new project by drummer/composer Päl Søvik, best known for his role in the strangely named band, Fruitcake. Joining Päl on this album is Tony Johannessen (vocals, keyboards), Morten Eriksen (guitars, bass) and Froydis Maurtvedt (bass, bass pedals).

Although I mention Fruitcake and understand that TGO is deemed to be a cross between typical 70’s prog (mid-era Genesis) and the more modern sound of Fruitcake, I cannot vouch for the latter as the only Fruitcake I have ever heard was a track on a poor quality tape sometime in the early 90’s.  And no, it didn’t encourage me to go out and buy a Fruitcake album.

I would go as far as disputing the ‘mid-Genesis era’ description; the first three tracks slowly plod on in a boring manner to a degree that even Genesis sans Gabriel never quite sunk.  However, the fourth track The Room Below goes some way in addressing the balance but not far enough.  That is followed by an instrumental called Office Of Hard Cash which plods on a little quicker than the first three tracks but doesn’t go very far, instead repeating the central riff over and over.

The Guardian is the final track on the album and actually starts off with what I call a bit of prog only to drop back into plodding mode a minute and a half later.

The musicianship is fine but the compositions are the sort of thing a ‘would be’ musician would doodle on a keyboard at home in an attempt to find melodies that work – interesting for the doodler but boring for the general listening audience. The vocals are also uninspiring but this could be due to the mundane music rather than a criticism of Tony Johannessen.  If only the album lived up to its artwork.

Maybe The Guardian’s Office is similar to Fruitcake in which case Fruitcake fans should love it.  If I am anything to go by, Genesis fans, even mid-era Genesis fans, should not get their hopes up.  Like all things in life, it is all down to personal taste.

Jem Jedrzejewski


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