MAGNOLIA is the brainchild of a man from Sweden named Ronny Eriksson who started this project in the early nineties and after the release of the debut album “Magnolia”, come “Falska Vägar” and if you’re a fan of 60’s and 70’s Progressive, Rock and Blues music, it will blow your socks off. In the year 2008 you will be forgiven to expect that any band who make original music the likes of which have not been widely made for thirty to forty years, would be heavily influenced by bands from that era. In the case of MAGNOLIA two bands specifically stood out – one as a direct influence and the other in a more indirect manner.
GOD was born on the 30th of March 1945 in Surrey, England and after receiving his first guitar as a 13th birthday present, went on to join the YARDBIRDS in 1963 and in 1965 teamed up with JOHN MAYALL AND THE BLUESBREAKERS. Eric Clapton (as GOD was named at birth) then went on to form one of the first super-groups and probably the biggest influence on MAGNOLIA – CREAM. Although Clapton is not generally regarded as a Blues musician, his love for the genre is regularly expressed in his music the blue haze that hangs over “Falska Vägar” implies that MAGNOLIA feels the same way about the genre that is responsible for the existence of Rock and Metal. Yet it is mostly in the Blues that you would find the other, more indirect influence on MAGNOLIA and it is from a band that is commonly not recognized as a Blues band – BLACK SABBATH. Their influence is clear even in the first track, (“I-Land Blues”) and the last few seconds of the “Vägskäl” intro might as well be BLACK SABBATH, however MAGNOLIA can never be accused of copying from BLACK SABBATH and they certainly never sound like them. It is in the tone of the guitar and the slow and deliberate playing style that this influence comes through and is what gives this album its Heavy edge.
The key factor in making this a great album is certainly the way it was recorded and produced, and true to the days of old, “Falska Vägar” was recorded in an analogue studio that gives the album a great vintage sound that would not have been out of place 40 years ago. Yet there is a very fresh feel to the music and the melodies are never tiresome and the guitar play earns instant “classic” status - if it was released back then I expect it would have been noticed by more than a few people. The psychedelic journey of the drums left an image of Ginger Baker imprinted in my mind and I really enjoyed the all Swedish vocals on the album, the rolling sound of the Nordic tongue fits well with the energetic Rock ‘n Rolling guitars.
In the relatively short and limited time that I’ve had this album to listen to I’ve done so about six times more than anything else and it is simply that good. My one concern though is for the next MAGNOLIA release as the bar has now been set very high, but “Falska Vägar” is full of foot tapping, head bopping, finger rap-tap-tapping goodness and deserves every point it receives.
(Online December 29, 2008)