Monday, February 23, 2015

Fläsket Brinner - 1972 - Fläsket

Fläsket Brinner 
1972 
Fläsket




01. Klotet (4:02)
02. Bennys Hammare (3:33)
03. Kommunisten (0:54)
04. Vårtagårdsvalsen (0:38)
05. Di Dumme Små Björnarna (3:33)
06. Anderssons Groove (3:55)
07. Jätten Feeling (5:06)
08. Batum (3:40)
09. Beate Hill (3:41)
10. Puppens Sång (2:19)
11. Grismakt (10:01)
12. Bosses Låt (4:38)
13. Tangon (2:42)
14. Tysta finskan (Samba Martinez) (5:39)
15. Hardugåttofått. (1:51)
16. Örsprånget (12:23)

Bengt Dahlén / guitar, violin and vocals
Bo Hansson / organ
Erik Dahlbäck / drums
Gunnar Bergsten / saxophone
Mikael Ramel / guitar and vocals
Per Bruun / bass
Sten Bergman / organ and flute



Knowing that this isn't the most famous release of all time, I am still surprised to see so few reviews for this album of exuberant Swedish prog. Perhaps not as famous as national cohorts, Samla Mammas Manna, Fläsket Brinner (The Flesh is Burning) created a fantastic album here that should definitely be heard by more people.
If comparisons are necessary, the easiest one to make is with Zappa and the Mothers, circa the late 60s, early 70s, and that can't be a bad thing. The long jam of "Grismakt," for instance, wouldn't be out of place on something like "Chunga's Revenge." Some of the music is also reminiscent of some jazz fusion, a little Miles Davis-ish in moments, but perhaps with more constraint (not that it doesn't go wild and get out of control as well). Over the course of this long album, you'll hear some strong improvs and jams, like on "Batum," but, for me, Fläsket were probably at their best in their complex written sections.

Instrumentals like the opener "Klotet" and "Jätten Feeling" stand out, with their rapid ascending and descending movements, excellent riff rock that highlights their masterful use of counterpoint, also notable on songs like "Bennys Hammare." Overall the music tends to swing between well-orchestrated sections, heavy boogie, and crunchy jam, between the elegant and the wild. As a band, they could conjure majestic riffs that could be intense yet oddly hummable.

There are also some cool, odd moments here, like the slow violin driven "Beate Hill" or the slightly perverse child-sung "Puppans Sång." In these moments they tend to evoke Swedish hippy collectives like International Harvester and Älgarnas Trädgård. Yet, just as you start to feel comfortable with that, they drop into some Santana-ish percussion-heavy groove. And somehow they make it work.

Definitely their best as an instrumental group, fusing cool keys, jazzy drums, groovy guitar and swooping horns, they only add vocals rarely. On one occasion, "Di dumma små björnarna," they go for that high childlike nyah-nyah chorus thing that the Flo and Eddie- era of Zappa and early Sammla loved so much. The only song to feature vocals prominently is "Andersson's Groove," and, unfortunately, it's a pretty standard MOR rock tune. Not much fun for the prog fan, and it's the weakest song for me.

Despite the title, the last group of tracks are all live performances, and they provide an interesting contrast. Definitely looser and heavier than the studio tracks, they show what a great band Fläsket must have been live. Still, I prefer them in their studio shape, perhaps because the jam sections of the live performances, while strong, are a tad more generic, whereas it is their tightly coordinated, beautifully harmonized compositions that show off what was special and unique about Fläsket.

Despite a few, rare weak moments, this is a tremendous album, and a prog favorite of mine.

It's always good to carry a little burning flesh with you wherever you go.

1 comment: