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  • Writer's pictureAndy Wors

Einar Stray Orchestra - 'Politricks'

I guess one of the reasons why I like a lot of Nordic bands is because there appears to be a creative freedom which naturally allows different styles and genres of music to be effortlessly combined. The Einar Stray Orchestra in their album ‘Politricks’, released in the UK in October, have produced an album which is strikingly original, and combining elements of many different genres – post rock, some progressive, folk, and modern classical music. Its pretty special and hugely rewarding.

I have listened to this album a lot over the last few weeks, one of the reasons for this review being written so far after its release, it is complex and layered with so many different sounds and it continues to surprise, delight and occasionally throw me out of my comfort zone. Its an album about making the transition into adulthood, about the innocence of youth and how young people can be indoctrinated with certain views. It’s a fairly simple concept from the young band, but its genuine and often thought provoking.

The mammoth opening 8 minute track ‘Honey’, with the piano and strings in accompaniment, immediately focusses on the lyrics and the basis of the album ‘honey I know, but please forgive the kids, for they don’t know how to live’, before we’re bombarded with the sheer weight of the massed Einar Stray Orchestras instruments and the occasional Shostakovich style piano bashing, ‘Politricks’ immediately challenges us with its opening lyrics, whilst an obvious favourite ‘Pocket Full of Holes’ is a glorious rollercoaster of driven strings, with layer upon layer of sound, and a clever pop song intertwined into it.

Just when I’m starting to relax, ‘For the Country’ jabs me with a pointed stick and tells me that ‘theres bullets in the bellies of our babies’, but it has the desired effect as I sit and listen intently to the words, and ‘Aleksander’ is dark but accompanied by the sweetest string sounds. And I simply love the string and guitar melody in ‘Qualia’.

‘Politricks’ is a complex album which takes time to understand and enjoy. I don’t pretend yet to be fully comfortable with every sound, but i like it enormously and feel this is a band for whom genuine creative freedom and expression is at the heart of what they want to do. And they do it very well.

Nordic Music Review 8.5/10

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