Friday, April 08, 2005


FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: Friends of th' Hut will no doubt remember the infamous run of Tuwa's Shanty, now defunct.
Tuwa will occasionally bring his funct over here for us to play with.
Make him feel at home, eh?

Gasolin' - "Lonely Avenue"

Gasolin' - "Lots of Success"

Gasolin' - "Rebel Run"

These tracks are from the self-titled 1975 U.S. LP Gasolin', a Danish band on Epic/CBS. Gasolin' had been playing in Denmark for some time prior; I imagine they hopped the pond with high hopes. They certainly all look cheerful enough on the back cover.

The photo's a hoot: the man in front (whom I'm guessing is Kim Larsen, the singer) is wearing a grey fishbone-patterned suit coat with a torn maroon velvet V-neck sweater and something that would be a tie if it weren't so long, purple and, well, shiny. The man on the far left is wearing a multi-colored leather cap with a black leather jacket and a long faux-snakeskin scarf; the man on the far right looks like he just left Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Side one started inauspiciously, with a track that sounds like Led Zeppelin crossed with Alice Cooper, complete with machismo, swagger and obligatory lemon metaphor. The second song had a slow "mystical" break that reminded me of Spinal Tap, but then songs three through five came along for a tidy turnaround.

"Lonesome Avenue" is a country/rock track about pining and loneliness. The band themselves translated some of their songs from Danish to English for this album; I don't know if this is one of those, but it's a skillful translation. What sells the song for me (aside from the lyrics, the honkytonk guitar and the laid-back drumming) is the harmonizing from Anne Linnet and Lis Sørensen. Really lovely work.

"Rebel Run" is a simple blues-rock number that puts me in mind of The Kinks. I don't dig the two gear changes and I'm puzzled about the break with the vocal back-and-forth (some of it seems to go to speakers I don't have) but the guitar riff keeps things moving along at a steady clip and, more importantly, the song is fun. Maybe my musical superego whispers that I shouldn't like it, but my id puts it on replay. I imagine the writing went something like this:

Franz: "why so glum, Kim?"
Kim: "I just have this feeling that there are butts out there in need of kicking."
Franz: "We can take care of that, right?"
Wili and Søren: "Right!"
Franz: "That's what rock bands are for, right?"
Wili and Søren: "Right!"
Kim [perking up a bit, beginning to smile]: "It just might work."

"Lots of Success" is another song about loneliness, the spiritual brother to Jackson Browne's "Rosie," but with more rock and less country. The guitar rolls along at a steady simmer; one of the things I like about this song is that it never seems to resolve to the chord it's building towards. Still, I can't help wondering what the song would be like if the vocals simmered like the guitar--complained but didn't shout--with maybe a half-step change on "ni-ight."

The back of the LP tells us that drummer Søren "Charlie" Berlev was fond of the Stones, which is an obvious influence, and that guitarist Franz Beckerlee worships both Coltrane and Hendrix. Beckerlee's playing doesn't strike me as much like Hendrix --it's too sedate-- but it certainly does tends to work in service of the songs. Comparing someone to Hendrix or Coltrane is more than a little unfair; even so, I couldn't help wondering if I'd want to mention them as an influence in the first place, except to rush on to someone less canonical.

At any rate, Gasolin' never did hit it big in the U.S. Allmusic.com doesn't know much about them; their albums aren't widely available (except in Denmark); and most sites I find about them are in Danish.

...and where are you then?

As of late, lack of money and time has put a crimp in posting. All of the above to be addressed briefly.

I've some forty or so notes that nice label people have sent me with tons of quarterbox material; expect that by Saturday.

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