Ranshart (2019 re-issue)

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Karisma Records, 2019)

Karakter: 4/6

Ruphus Ranshart album cover.jpgThe ridiculously talented prog rock ensemble known as Ruphus spawned some brilliant songs and albums back in the glorious 70s and early 80s, and we should be grateful to the ever-reliable Karisma Records for unearthing and re-issuing those gems and making them available again. The band's debut offering from 1973 entitled "New Born Day" is a stunning and near-flawless piece of playful and moving music that is as unpredictable as it is thrilling. How does this sophomore effort of theirs fare then? Well, the fact that the line-up had changed quite radically by 1974 clearly shows, which is not necessarily a bad thing as such, but whereas the first album has a raw charm and a wonderful sense of spontaneity to it, "Ranshart" is a more polished and refined affair. The style and technically dazzling features of the songs lean more toward Genesis and Yes than, say for instance, King Crimson or Camel's "Mirage" record, which is where "Ranshart" differs from its predecessor.

As much as I enjoy how the various parts and pieces move seamlessly together and flow through almost ethereal-like soundscapes or how marvelous those insanely clever arrangements are, I miss the musically daring and wildly inventive vibe of "New Born Day". "Ranshart" simply lacks that spark and fire, and it feels like less of a band effort not to mention that I miss the heavenly vocals of Gudny Aspaas. Then again, nothing ever stays the same and everything changes. Why should that be any different with respect to Ruphus and their musical style? Having said all of the above, "Ranshart" is a memorable and appealing output, and it is highly interesting with respect to the history of Norwegian prog rock. One simply cannot argue with the quality of the mystical track "Pictures of a Day" or the melodically gorgeous "Back Side", so I encourage each and every one of you with a hankering for colorful 70s rock from the realm of Scandinavia to check this one out once it hits the streets in early June.


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