OAK - Lighthouse - 2016
“... a beautiful album full of lovely tunes...”
OAK is a Band from Norway that released in the year 2013 their debut album “Lighthouse” first as a digital download only release. Later on they pressed a limited amount of CD's for selling at their gigs. In the year 2016 the Norwegian label Apollon Records picked up the band and released a proper CD with new artwork. Somehow this release didn't reached progVisions last year, but after reviewing some new Apollon releases recently, I received a wonderful package from Norway with also this OAK release. The album got some great reviews in the press and some extra attention because of the Airbag connection. Airbag's guitarist Bjørn Riis is playing his guitar on one of the tracks of this fine album.
Simen Valldal Johannessen - vocals, lyrics, keys; Ole Michael Bjørndal - guitars; Øystein Sootholter - bass guitars, additional keys & programming; Sigbjørn Reiakvam - drums, percussion, programming, additional keys & guitars
Henrik Skjervum - guitars (Lighthouse and Munich); Steinar Refsdal - sax (Lighthouse); Bjørn Riis - lead guitars (Fire and Walk with Me)
On “Lighthouse” you can find the following twelve tracks; “Prelude”, “Home”, “Perceiving Red”, “Munich”, “Stars Under Water”, “Interlude 1”, “The Sea”, “Fire Walk With Me!”, “Interlude 2”, “Where Did The Summer Go”, “Lighthouse”, “Postludium-Walk Of Atonement”.
After the atmospheric intro “Prelude” the album opens with the song “Home”. A happy sounding tune with a beautiful vocal line and catchy vocal refrains. Love the beautiful keyboard orchestration (Mellotron) and the piano parts. All this on top of a steady rhythm section. The delicate opening of “Perceiving Red” with sensitive vocals, piano, percussion and wonderful keyboard sounds got my full attention. It develops into one of the highlights of this album. What a beautiful song! The next up tempo song “Munich” has more power and I am searching for a reference for my readers. It is very difficult because this band already developed a unique own sound. But if I must give you one it is something like this: Gazpacho meets Porcupine Tree. The aggressive guitars reminds me of the last mentioned band. “Stars Under Water” is also a song with beautiful vocal melodies. The band has with Simen Valldal Johannessen a great vocalist. After a short and delicate Interlude simply called “Interlude 1” we can listen to the longest track of the album entitled “The Sea” (8:36). It is another highlight for me. After the first vocal part and a delicate played guitar and piano section the tension of the music is building up towards a great climax before the song ends with a slow jazzy electric guitar part. The track seamlessly flows into the next song “Fire Walk With Me!” This is the song in which Airbag guitarist Bjørn Riis is playing the lead guitar. He is playing for the composition only so he is playing his guitar in a modest way. It is a beautiful song. After the atmospheric “Interlude 2” the band continues with the song “Where Did The Summer Go”. A lovely song with nice vocal lines. The title track “Lighthouse”, just another highlight, has again those beautiful keyboard strings and fine piano parts. The musical palette is extended by the sax of guest Steinar Refsdal. The album comes to an end with the track “Postludium-Walk Of Atonement”. In this piece you can hear that the music of OAK has a kind of dreamy, atmospheric and cinematic quality. A worthy ending of a remarkable album.
The Norwegian band OAK surprises with a beautiful album full of lovely tunes with a somewhat cinematic character. No freaky stuff on this album, just beauty and blissful music. Love the supporting character of all the keyboards. It is not about solo's but it is all about the melodies and music. I would also like to mention the vocalist - well done! If you like your music on the mellow and melodic side of the progressive spectrum this album is recommended to you. What a beautiful album!