Album review overview: Rusty Apollo, Hasse Fröberg and more

Photo (c) Jorge Fakhouri Filho

Dozens of new albums arrive at Maxazine’s editorial staff every week. There are way too many to listen to them all, let alone review them. It ensures that too many albums are left behind. And that’s a shame. That is why today we post an overview of albums that arrive at the editors in short reviews.

Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion – Eternal Snapshots

“Eternal Snapshots” is the sixth studio album by Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion (HFMC). This time, there are no delightful epics over ten minutes long. This concept album explores the question of whether our personality is predestined or determined by fate. You might need to get used to one of the first unexpected twists in the opening track. “Deserve To Be Happy” features, among other things, cool guitar play. The slightly sweet sounds of “Wherever You May Go” suit this beautiful feel-good song. At times, there are quite a few layers in the vocals and music. Despite the fairly calm setup, it is complex. “No Messiah” seems more complex due to the sudden twists but remains accessible. “Only For Me” is a short, special track. “The Yard” is even shorter but very different. Despite the differences, all the tracks fit well together. Although this album does not tell a single story, “All I Wanted To Be” is a clear closer. In these eleven songs, the alternation between bass, guitars, and keyboards is excellent. Vocals and music are balanced. Both Hasse’s beautiful, familiar voice and the harmonies always stand out positively. (Esther Kessel-Tamerus) (8/10) (Glassville Records)

ROJAZ – La Noche

The Spanish singer and DJ ROJAZ presents her new EP “La Noche”. This six-track EP takes listeners on an enchanting journey through the night, inspired by youthful love, euphoria, and self-discovery. With influences from UKG and Spanglish vocals, the EP opens with “Doler”, followed by “Café” where UK bass music clearly emerges. “Come Over” combines bittersweet Spanglish vocals with danceable beats. The highlight of the EP is “Cae La Noche”, an ode to youthful romance, followed by the nostalgic “Yo No Consigo Olvidarte”. The closer, “Don’t Run Away”, brings emotion and a hint of rave synths together. “La Noche” showcases ROJAZ’s talent for creating emotive dance floor moments and her unique mix of Spanish and English cultural influences. This EP promises a summer full of intense, fleeting romances. (Norman van den Wildenberg) (7/10) (ROJAZ)

Gorgon City – Reverie

The British electronic duo Gorgon City has released their fifth studio album, “Reverie”. Following the successful “Salvation” from 2023, this album continues their signature mix of bass-driven house and compelling vocals. While “Reverie” features some strong tracks like the energetic “Are You Feeling It Too” and the emotionally charged “Biggest Regret” featuring Bbyafricka, the album sometimes lacks the innovation that marked their earlier work. Tracks like “Breathe You In” and “Keep Your Head Up” demonstrate Gorgon City’s ability to create catchy music suitable for both clubs and home listening, but some tracks feel like repetitions of previous successes. (Tobias Brown) (5/10) (Universal Music)

Rusty Apollo – Apollo III

It took a few years, but the result is worth it. With “Apollo III”, the blues and pop veterans of Rusty Apollo have delivered another excellent album. The members – Mike Meijer, his son Mozes Meijer, Kim Snelten, Rogier van der Ploeg, and Onno Voorhoeve – have earned their stripes in bands like Gruppo Sportivo, Drippin’ Honey, Raggende Manne, and the Gigantjes, to name a few. Their debut album “Oh Yeah” appeared in 2015, followed by “Midgets & Monkeys” a year later. Now, eight years later, their third album is out. This album contains nine tracks, three of which are original works, each written by Mike Meijer, Onno Voorhoeve, and Rogier van der Ploeg. In addition to the mentioned band members, pianist Niels Meijer and saxophonist Arend Bouwmeester are also featured. You can say a lot about this band, but they certainly do not sound rusty. As heard on the earlier albums, the covered songs are given a completely unique rendition, making even a children’s song like “Fire Truck” and the Beatles’ “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road” sound as if they come from some swamp delta. In the latter track, Kim Snelten shows why he is still one of the best harmonica players in the Netherlands. The album opens with the rocking “Future’s So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades)”, known from Timbuk 3. Other tracks that deserve special mention are the gritty-sounding “Houston (We Have A Problem)” by Mike Meijer, the dark Andre Williams cover “Bacon Fat”, and the swinging blues number “I Was Around”, an original track by Onno. As stated above, there is absolutely no rust here. A great album, a lot to enjoy, and in my opinion, an absolute must-have. (Eric Campfens) (8/10) (Rusty Apollo)

Qwalia – Abbreviations

Qwalia’s second album “Abbreviations” is an enchanting and groundbreaking listening experience. The album perfectly captures the vibrant energy and boundless creativity of their live performances in seven intriguing tracks. With their unique blend of psychedelic jazz, funk, and ambient, Qwalia shows they continue to evolve and explore their own musical path. “Abbreviations” is not only a showcase of their technical skills but also their ability to bring depth and emotion to their improvisations. Especially tracks like “Elevator Company”, with its mesmerizing guitar line and warm, intimate atmosphere, and “Majolica”, a multi-layered piece of psychedelic instrumental with compelling rhythms and mantra-like guitar riffs, embody Qwalia’s artistic range and innovation. For fans of adventurous and innovative music, this album is an absolute must-listen. (Elodie Renard) (7/10) (Albert’s Favourites)

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