Solberg, Einar -16

Kev Rowland

Here we have the debut solo album from Leprous vocalist Einar Solberg, and he has brought in many people he has worked with in the past to create something which is bound to find wide critical acclaim, and I am sure there are plenty of magazines who will be saying this is the most wonderful progressive rock album one could wish to come across in 2023. Yes, you guessed it, I am not nearly as much a fan of this as one might think. To create his vision of what he was going through between the ages of 16 and 19 we have Bent Knee’s Ben Levin and Agent Fresco’s Toti Gudnason, cellist (and regular Leprous live musician) Raphael Weinroth-Browne and Magnus Børmark, best known as a member of Norwegian alt-folk troupe Gåte alongside Ihsahn and Star Of Ash amongst others. It was mixed by Adam Noble (Placebo, Biffy Clyro, Nothing But Thieves) and mastered by Robin Schmidt (The 1975, Placebo, The Gaslight Anthem, etc.).

For me the album is all about two things, namely Solberg’s vocals and the emotion being portrayed throughout. There is no doubt he is an insanely talented singer, and the way he can move easily from head voice into falsetto is unreal, and the multi-layers really does make this an album for singers to study and aspire to. The arrangements are geared towards the vocals, making them stand out even more, but while he is providing progressive rock which has been influenced by Steven Wilson, The Pineapple Thief and Ihsahn, for me he is pushing far too much into the world of commerciality and popular music which negates the power and passion. When he gets it right, such as with the huge lift during “A Passionate Life” then it is simply stunning, and one’s jaw just drops at the power and passion being displayed and one can imagine the lights lifting and the crowd going crazy. However, there are also plenty of times when I found myself wondering when he was going to get back to the drama as what he was doing was so far out of my comfort zone that I was not enjoying it at all.

None of that can demean the vocals though, which are simply insane, as Solberg clearly demonstrates he is one of the finest singers in the current scene. A good album with some great elements, but not consistent enough to be judged indispensable.

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