|Jarle Bernhoft – 'Ceramik City Chronicles' (Mercury Norway)|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Wednesday, 19 August 2009 18:09|
Way back in November 1989 I had just started a Christmas job with the then high street music retailer Our Price. Up until that time if you’d asked me to name a soulful singer I’d probably have replied with either Don Dokken, or Tony Harnell. I know, I was still quite young, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.
With some subtle persuasion from a work colleague, who would also become a massive musical influence for this fledgling mulleted reviewer, before long I was engrossed in Stax and Motown’s finest offerings and I really haven’t looked back since.
The relevance of this, to the debut album from ex Span Lead Singer Jarle Bernhoft is that he would appear to have undertaken a very similar musical epiphany. Shorn of the gigantic riffola of his previous band (and I would urge anyone who digs quality rock to check out Span's colossal debut Mass Distraction) what you are left with is the emotionally charged vocals of a musician totally in touch with where he wants to be right now.
So lets put aside Soundgarden for now, and think more about the classic vibe of Curtis Mayfield and Donny Hathaway. I’d say Ceramik City Chronicles is an album that either of those vanguards of real soul would have been proud to have in their back catalogues.
Tracks like ‘Fly Away’ and ‘In The Street’ have that funky edge that makes for perfect summer party music, and are the type of tracks Lenny Kravitz would sell his soul (again) to be able to write once more.
The overall class and quality of this album is a delightful indulgence, with hints of Stevie Wonder (circa Innervisions) showing within ‘On Individuality’ and the classic ‘Otis’ gospel tinged balladry of ‘Prayer To A Landlord’ standing out as real beacons of musical goose-bumpery.
So, why the hell are Uber Rock reviewing this album I hear you ask?
Well, throughout that wonderful musical journey of discovery I made in 1989, I suddenly realised where albums like David Coverdale’s Northwinds and Ronnie James Dio’s Elf Trying to Burn the Sun were grounded, in terms of musical and creative reference. So now when an album like Ceramik City Chronicles unfurls in all its joyous glory from my stereo I no longer reach for the nearest shot of Hard Rock to hide behind, I simply open my mind and let the cool vibes flood in.
Life really is too short for you not to discover the awesome talents of Jarle Bernhoft, and as this CD is only currently available on import from Norway that little bit of extra effort you’ll make to get hold of it will make it all so much rewarding.
Go on treat yourself.