Hangar Nord – Hangar Nord

Rating: 4.5/5
Distributor/label: GMR Music
Released: 2021
Buy Album: Amazon
Band Website: Facebook

Band Line-up:

All instruments by Hangar Nord except:
A Thousand Years From Now – Trumpet by Jonas Lindeborg
Safe & Sound – Double bass by Tilde Gardemar, Violin & viola by Peter Gardemar

Tracklisting:

1. A Lie Is A Lie Is A Lie
2. A Thousand Years From Now
3. Andromeda
4. Dancing On TheVerge Of The Abyss
5. Do You Remember
6. Domino
7. Heavy Weather
8.One Wing
9. Over You
10. Parachutes
11. Safe & Sound
12. The Woods

Review:

Hangar Nord are a Swedish progressive rock trio on GMR Music, who experiment with psychedelic, post rock, and folk ideas. Through their careers, they’ve collaborated with a number of international acts such as Scorpions, The Rasmus, and Apocalyptica. They have composed and produced a number of film and TV scores, and their cinematic and sometimes dreamy soundscapes find their way onto their self-titled debut album, which will be released on 27th August, 2021. It was produced, recorded and mixed by the musicians themselves, in four studios, including Nord Studio.

Opening track ‘A Lie Is A Lie is A Lie’ sounds like a cross between Pink Floyd’s acoustic stuff and light country music, played with a bottle neck. Like many fusions of not so different styles, it sounds completely natural. So HN get a thumbs up, there. ‘A Thousand Years From Now’, is more in the style of Simon and Garfunkel with an ever so subtle build up of tension, that keeps the listener hooked. Not easy to do with such chilled music, so a second thumbs up. Unlike many of the other tracks, there isn’t as much genre splicing there, but if you like the folk legends, you’re in for a huge treat. The finger picked acoustic guitars are far more complex than many other folk rock bands out there. These guys aren’t about strumming alone, they have a real sense of taste. 

Track ‘Andromeda’ is Pink Floyd styled in a more dreamy and mystical way than ‘A Lie…’. The prog supergroup’s ‘Breathe’ springs to mind, only HN’s work here is even lighter, more mellow and is an instrumental. It even has a nice and soulful David Gilmour style guitar solo, only more epic. Perhaps it goes on for a little too long, but it’s far from over indulgent in terms of pyrotechnics. ‘Dancing on the Verge of the Abyss’ has more of a bluesy Gary Moore style solo. Again, not flashy, but very emotional. I’m reminded of ‘Still Got the Blues for You’, but again, the track is an instrumental. It may consequently sound a bit ‘lonely’ to some but be patient, as that’s the point; the band are experts at playing with people’s emotions. More vocals are not too far away.

‘Do You Remember’ even seems to have some Joe Satriani influences. There certainly isn’t any shredding on the song, I’m talking about the guitarist at his most melodic. The track is a tiny bit sugary sweet at times, but it’s uplifting and chilled out at the same time. The vocals are back, and are so soothing they could put you to sleep. For that reason it’s very dangerous to listen to this album when driving. There is severe risk of carnage. ‘Domino’ is a perhaps little bit dull when compared to the other tracks. In a way I’m reminded of Pelican, who have a somewhat stripped down, instrumental, progressive style. Though as they are highly respected, who am I to judge?

‘Heavy Weather’ has some more Satriani style playing, but the song is more mystical and rocking, this time around. The backing guitars are often crunchy, and the bass whilst simple, has some nice thudding rhythms. It’s been a while, but the S&G sound is back with ‘One Wing’. Don’t be at all concerned though, as the two songs don’t sound too similar to each other. Rather, the latter builds on the former. The way the songs are spaced reasonably far apart is clever, as a kind of micro-nostalgia is experienced so to speak, when you hear the similar tones. ‘Over You’ is a darker and moodier song that almost brings to mind Led Zeppelin’s ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’, in places. It even comes with some Jimmy Page style guitar solos, and some string parts that remind one a little of ‘Kashmir’.  

‘Parachutes’ is another Pink Floyd style track, further developing the album’s sound. You know when you watch a TV program, where you get a bit of story A, then some story B, then more of A and then B again? You get similar ideas here, that build intrigue in a less linear way. Maybe it’s no coincidence the musicians have worked for TV. Penultimate track ‘Safe & Sound’ is a little more upbeat than many of the prior tracks, making the ending section of the album positive and satisfying. Very nice. However, such positivity doesn’t last long, as final track ‘The Woods’ is one of the sadder ones. Darn. (Though it does offer at least some hope at times, with its occasional major harmonies). The contrast between the two outro songs takes one completely by surprise, giving the album even more depth. 

In conclusion, every song offers something different, and the fusing of styles is very effective. Things are far from crazy in terms of influences, but the band clearly have put a lot of thought into their work, in that it’s somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster. I’m sure many will think the music would be ever so slightly improved if it had a little more vocals, and I’m one of such people. However, if you think S&G should have more classic rock solos and be more spacey, Hangar Nord will be perfect for you. Ok, that was a little bit of an exaggeration, as such folky sounds are in a bit of a minority, but they certainly aren’t underdeveloped. Highly recommended. 

Review by Simon Wiedemann

 

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