• White Willow - Future Hopes



    Released by: March 31st, 2017.
    Released on: The Laser's Edge
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    Future Hopes is the first album from Norwegian art rockers White Willow since 2011's TERMINAL TWILIGHT. The band sees a return of Mattias Olsson on drums, Jacob Holm-Lupo on guitars, Ketil Einarsen on flutes, Lars Fredrik Frislie on keys, and Ellen Andrea Wang on bass. The new addition is singer, Venke Knutson, who is known for a series of top ten charting pop songs in Norway some years ago. She has also worked with Jacob Holm-Lupo and Mattias Olsson prior to this release on ARDOR from the project Opium Cartel.

    White Willow weaves a musical tapestry across Future Hopes that touches upon prog rock, electronica, pop, new age, and jazz into something that reminds me a bit of Ayreon with its heavy use of synthesizers. While most of the songs have their own identity, the overarching tone is dreamy and melancholic, and Ms. Knutson's vocals add a fragility that complements the music.



    The song that stands out the most to me is 'Dim Days' that has some long instrumental passages and a darker, spacier feel than the rest of album. The other highlight of the album is the cover of Scorpions 'Animal Magnetism' with the amazing clarinet solo, by featured clarinetist David Krakauer, which is at the same time dominant and interlaced with the melody and vocals of the song. The tune is still recognizable, but changes up the sonic textures focusing more on electronica rather than driving guitar. I love when bands put these kind of spins on classics - songs that are classic are classic for a reason, but to make a cover stand out, a band has to leave their own touch.

    Overall, the album is pretty good and is pleasant change of place than your typical progressive offering. My main critique is that the songs bleed into each other a little bit, but on further listens you are rewarded with intricacies not noticed initially.