Album Review of Moon Landing by Sivert Hoyem, Out on November 16th on Hektor Grammofon.
If almost any of the songs from Sivert Hoyem's new album Moon Landing were played on your average alternative radio station, it's quite possible that they'd just blend in and get lost amongst everything else. It would be easy to gloss over the subtleties of these songs that make it such a stand out record. As such, there are no 'radio singles' that a major label would push their latest group of pretty indie stars to produce, but this is exactly where Moon Landing's strengths are.
Moon Landing plays to a more subtle approach, with more thought put into creating delicate and moving epics like the albums closing track Arcadian Wives. This song is a stunning, slow burning number based around slow chord progressions and the bright hum of a Hammond organ. Similarly, The Light That Falls among the Trees is based around an intricate acoustic guitar riff that slowly builds to the songs conclusion. It isn't the most immediate record you will ever hear, but these are songs that will stick with you for a long time. It's a welcome relief from the music industry's fast food culture.
A definite highlight of this album for me is the opening song Belorado. It is almost nine minutes long. Some bands make it difficult to get through a song that long, but Sivert Hoyem makes it seem effortless, changing between descending guitar melodies mimicking the tunes of church bells, to a driving, travelling chord progression. It is soaring and uplifting, much like Hoyem's soulful vocals. This man has one of the best voices I have heard in a long time, recalling perhaps Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam at times.
Perhaps a downside to this album is the quality of the production. At times it's muddy, and it does not do the majesty of the music the justice it deserves. You could argue that it adds to the independent home-grown charm of the record, but it's easy to imagine just how huge some of these songs could have sounded with a clearer and more polished sound.
You may not hear Sivert Hoyem on the radio, but if you dare to dive into his world, you will be rewarded in spades. Moon Landing defies genre, with the soft strains of Going for Gold sitting happily next to the Rock storm of Lost at Sea. I personally would also recommend the deluxe edition, which features, among other exclusive songs, a brilliant rock song called Johnny which brings to mind some of Iggy Pop's slower and harder hitting moments.