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By, Kjetil - 2008 Kjetil By

ARTIST: By, Kjetil
ALBUM: Unrequited Love
LABEL: Hit Music
YEAR: 2008
SPONSOR: Kjetil By


LINEUP: Kjetil By - lead vocals, guitars * Morty Black - bass * Steinar Krogstad - drums *Trond Hustad - keyboards * Bente Smaavik - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Unrequited Love * 02 Burning * 03 Christine * 04 Loved And Lost * 05 Beautiful And Dangerous * 06 Summerwind * 07 Wait A While * 08 Big Heart * 09 These Are The Days * 10 Angel



Norway has always fascinated me with the number of quality melodic rock acts that have emanated from the icy North. Stage Dolls in particular have been a mainstay in my popularity books, and any artist/band associated with Trondheim's favourite sons always generates a level of interest on my part. Hence the name Kjetil By, who also resides way up in the north of Norway, and as you can see by the album line-up, contains one part TNT with Morty Black, one part Stage Dolls (Steinar Krogstad) and one part Blonde On Blonde (Smaavik). Keyboardist Trond Hustas is mainly a session musician and has played on some of Stage Dolls recordings while singer Claudia Scott (C.C.C.P, Scott & Steel) provides a helping hand on lyrics. 'Unrequited Love' is Kjetil's third album, his two previous efforts released in 2001 and 1996, and obviously with time and experience behind him, things get better.

The Songs
'Unrequited Love' has a consistent feel across its playing time, containing a selection of mid-paced rockers and semi-ballads. The vibe is mostly warm, but if there is one noticeable observation, the album doesn't really 'let rip'. There are no tempo variations, no excitable passages of blazing guitar solos nor are there any huge choruses that have the 'wow factor. These are the things we look for when going through the 'measuring up' process when reviewing albums in this genre. OK, let's see what is on offer here..

Stage Dolls fans should get a kick from the opener 'Unrequited Love'. Without being demeaning, this is xerox copy stuff, but I love it! Get's my my thumbs up!

'Burning' to me is one of the best tracks here. It's got a certain energy moulded into every pore of the song.. the tempo, playing style, the high firing bass lines.. very cool track.

Somewhere along the way, I was expecting to run into a female in the song-title. Here she is.. 'Christine'. An ode to the typical 'girl-boy' scenario. 'Christine.. I'll take the shot, Christine.. you're all I got..' 'I'm walking the wire, Christine, you take me higher...

'Loved And Lost' is a duet ballad with the lovely Bente Smaavik, with a hint of blues and commerciality. This might appeal to many.

Though the song-title might sound risky, 'Beautiful And Dangerous' is straight-ahead melodic rock with little in the way of variation. The organ work and harmonies on the chorus help give it colour.

'Summer Wind' has many Stage Dolls attributes, and the song itself sounds commercial, familiar, and happy go lucky!

'Wait A While' could've done with a tempo surge, the track moves too slowly for my taste - that it's danger of tripping over itself. The song-title is well named I think.

We move into ballad territory with 'Big Heart', including a piano intro and a softly treaded direction - with a nice guitar solo as a contrast.

'These Are The Days' is perhaps the rockiest effort here, and manages to generate a bit of enthusiasm with a stomping chorus and some beefed up guitar riffs.

The album finishes up with another semi-ballad 'Angel'. This one has a bit of atmosphere and spatial elements and comes across generally well, but it really needed a soaring lead guitar solo to send it over the top.. perhaps next time..

In Summary
It's hard not to ignore the Stage Dolls influence, more so from their later studio albums. Stylistically it's easy to compare, but without their glossy production. The album has been released on Kjetil's own Hit Music label, but you can pick this CD up from any of the major melodic rock retailers.. Though 'Unrequited Love' embellishes the Norwegian reputation, and stands proudly alongside the likes of Northern Light, On The Rise and Main Attraction, the album probably comes across as far too safe and play-by-numbers for many of the discerning and hard-to-please punters out there.

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#1 | Traveller in time on July 12 2008 07:59:54
It`s a very good album, the songs are great, if you love Stage Dolls, you also will love the new album from Kjetil.
I know all CD`s from Kjetil, also his first Demos under the name
'Daisy Jane' and all stuff from Kjetil is very very good.
And Bente Smaavik, what a voice!

Best wishes to Kjetil, Terje (my old friend) and Geir

#2 | Geir on July 12 2008 19:47:16
Hey George! Nice work on this review! ...I don't necessarily agree with everything that you say, but you present your opinions in a fair and informative fashion, and that's the kind of respect that I'm glad to see in print.

By the way, I believe Glory Daze might actually be first to review 'Unrequited Love' online, which I appreciate, as Kjetil is a good friend of mine! As far as Kjetil's previous output is concerned, this is certainly his best release by far in my opinion, too, but then again, all of us here - and, for that matter, everyone I know - seems to agree on that! :-)

For the record, Trond Hustad was also Stage Dolls' regular live keyboardist back in the day ... he might still be, for all I know. I saw him with the band as early as the tour following the self-titled release, and on several occasions later, as well!

As far as the Stage Dolls similiarities, these were probably more copycat-like in effect on Kjetil's debut CD, 'No Protection', but musically, I agree that many Stage Dolls fans could potentially enjoy 'Unrequited Love' and should certainly check it out! ('Summer Wind' is available as a full track in streaming on Kjetil's website, for the immediately curious!)

Alf, thanks for the greeting - sorry that I haven't gotten back to you via email yet, but I'll be in touch as soon as I can! :-)

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