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Dedicated To The Bird We Love

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Album Review

Yet another mysterious and long-lost psych-folk album, Dedicated to the Bird We Love, originally released in Norway at the dawn of the '70s and then re-released by Sunbeam in 2006, is a more worthy candidate than most for its status, if not truly a unique artifact. It's a pleasant enough listen which mixes and matches its styles in an easygoing fashion. Thanks in part to the strong quality of Nina Johansen's voice, an obvious comparison point might be the Shocking Blue, but Oriental Sunshine's brief is less fierce, hook-driven hits than a more contemplative ramble. That said, this isn't a spare guitar-and-nothing-else effort either — opener "Across Your Life" has a surprisingly thick, busy sound deep in the mix, with drums, sitar, keyboards, and more turning into a roiling bed of music at once agitated and strangely serene. This depth becomes a hallmark of the album, as Johansen and Rune Walle's singing steps to the fore with the key melodies while the music unobtrusively fills out the sound. Sometimes the mix does get calmer in overall comparison, as on songs like "Visions," but it provides a gentle variety to the album as a result. Flute and sitar appear often enough to be core to the sound rather than simply window dressing, though admittedly neither are used in strikingly unique fashion — as with the album as a whole, the result is an enjoyable niche rather than a lost masterpiece flat-out, and once or twice, as with the introduction to "Unless," the effect feels more clichéd than anything else. (The lyrics themselves veer there at points too, but never to the point of distraction.)

Dedicated To The Bird We Love, Oriental Sunshine
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