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Album cover

Nice Beaver - Oregon

Artist: Nice Beaver
Title: Oregon
Label: Cyclops CYCL 145
Length(s): 67 minutes
Year(s) of release: 2004
Month of review: [02/2005]

Line up

Ferry Zonneveld - drums, backing vocals
Erik Groeneweg - lead vocals, keys
Peter Stel - bass, vocals
Hans Gerritse - guitars, lead vocals, backing vocals

Tracks

1) Nights In Armour 12.12
2) Morphine 5.31
3) Any Other Day 5.52 MP3
4) Oregon 9.35
5) The Beaver State 6.42
6) Two Brides For Two Brothers 10.38
7) Love On Arrival 5.48
8) Lawn Mower's Day Off 10.14

Summary

The music

Nights In Armour opens with clean and clear guitar in an open melody. The bass is supple and the music flies by easily, until four minutes into the song the rhythm changes and becomes more serious and jazzy keys are blended in. This more or less makes a clean break with the first part of the track. Another triple of minutes further along we move into another change: vocals with Arabian influenced instrumentation. The finale returns the track's initial theme.

The intro of Morphine slowly builds up. This track, even more than its predecessor, shows the changes of tempo Nice Beaver can make, switching from a flowing verse to a certain halting chorus, taken over by flooding guitars to return to the verse. Maybe this is how the band makes a five and half minute song sound pretty short.

Any Other Day takes more of a vocal approach, having just a short intro, with a more or less constant flow from verse to chorus. As the track progresses the central guitar theme pushing more to the fore, facilitated by the return of the chorus.

Title track Oregon has an intro of intermediate length, alternating lighter and more grave guitar sounds. From this we move into a gentle vocal section leading into a more engaged instrumental bit.

The Beaver State starts with a lot of seventies Santana guitar with a lingering feel, at times opposed by bass. As the track progresses the guitar sounds become a bit sharper, letting the memories of Santana abate. After this instrumental Two Brides immediately starts the once again laidback vocals, sounding more gentle, almost wavering now. After a couple of minutes the vocals are broken by an instrumental section with a news section read across. The guitar slow builds during the ensueing vocal section, once again instigating an instrumental section helping build towards the final vocal section and climax.

Love On Arrival is based on a hard guitar riff with strong type of a vocals. This track has a more traditional structure.

As Lawn Mower's Day Off starts you can already here the theme humming in the back, waiting to gain in strength and dominate the track, the way Nice Beaver knows so well how to do. This theme gets some room in the chorusses already, lingering in the back during verses. The instrumental break fully creates room for the theme and its variations on for instance keys and acoustic guitar.

Conclusion

There is something about this band diction that sets it apart from all other bands. What is so specific about it I find hard to describe, but it does make the band unique. It probably has to do with the way the rhythm in vocals is adapted to the percussion rhythm.

This second Nice Beaver album is more consistent then its predecessor. Even though best track Lawn Mower's Day Off is not good enough to be another Wintersong, this album has turned out a step up for the band.

© Roberto Lambooy