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Norway - 2000 Arrival

ARTIST: Norway
ALBUM: Arrival
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2000


LINEUP: Glenn Pierson - vocals, keyboards * Jim Santos - guitars * Joe Slattery - bass * Marty Brasington - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Givin' It All * 02 One Night Alone * 03 Someday Someway * 04 I Don't Wanna Love You * 05 Can't Live Without You * 06 Sendin' A Prayer (A Song For David) * 07 When You Close Your Eyes * 08 Cry Baby * 09 Find My Way Home * 10 Hole In My Heart * 11 Heaven In Your Arms


This is the second effort from New Jersey outfit Norway. These guys made a serious impression as an indie band a few years ago with their debut 'Night Dreams'. Then, it was primarily the efforts of Pierson and Santos who played most of the material. Our good friend Gabor over at Strutter Zine absolutely raved about these guys, so it's time to put 'Arrival' under our very own acid test. So what did we think? Yeah we loved it! And we think it's a major improvement on 'Night Dreams'. The band have added a real rhythm section this time around, with Slattery and Brasington being involved all the way through, though they were involved to a point last time around. Norway draws it influences from classic rock bands from the eighties, and you can hear flavourings of many of them throughout. But if you want to lock in on one particular band that they sound so much like then it's long defunct UK pomp rockers Grand Prix. The similarity is startling, you could swear that Pierson is Robin McAuley reincarnated. His keyboard lines are reminiscent of some of Phil Lanzon's work to the point you'd need to check the patent to ensure it's authenticity! When Norway rock out to the max, they cut loose in the style occupied by late eighties guitar oriented acts. An example of this would be the stuff last seen on the Network 'Crashin' Hollywood' album, though perhaps not as fluid.

The Songs
Onto the songs. The opening brace are strong efforts and memorable to boot. The chorus on 'Givin' It All' is particularly catchy, 'One Night Alone' is an outtake of a Grand Prix album .. surely (ha ha!). 'Someday Someway' has another chorus to kill for while the punctuated Def Leppard style guitar riffs get a look in on 'I Don't Wanna Love You'. 'Find My Way Home' has similarities to that wonderful outfit from Southern California in Leatherwolf, especially that guitar crunch from Santos and the pounding drumwork from Brasington. The keyboard flavoured pieces are quite delicious, as in 'When You Close Your Eyes', the soul rendering 'Can't Live Without You' and the superb 'Heaven In Your Arms'.

In Summary
In wrapping up, I can say quite safely that this is a great album and I'm quite pleasantly surprised by the quality, so well done chaps! If the continuity is maintained by the band, then I can see some interesting times ahead. However, I would like to lay down a challenge to Norway at the same time. I believe they can forge ahead if they wanted to, by slightly diversifying their sound. Perhaps with a little bit more aggression, harder edged songs and progressive/classical keyboard leanings rather than the rich layers and sugar coated melodies we get now, Norway perhaps in a year or two could be in the same league as bands like Fair Warning and Ten. Right now, they're on the move upwards..

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