The sounds of the ’60s British Invasion are back with vengeance by way of Denmark. The Blue Van are four talented young Danes who are following in the tradition started by The Yardbirds, The Kinks, The Who, The Rolling Stones and many others, taking American Rhythm and Blues from masters like Howlin’ Wolf and making it their own. You can hear the influences in the band’s playing, but their sound is unique and refreshing.
“We love all ’60s music. So we gather inspiration from all these old acts, not only just the pop-rock bands from the ’60s, but also the bluesy stuff and the soul stuff,” lead singer and guitarist Steffen Westmark, who bears a resemblance to Ray Davies, told soulshine.ca.
The band creates 40 minutes of outstanding, moptop-shaking rock and roll with only two worthwhile diversions in the middle. “Word From The Bird” begins the album with the beating of the snare, the stuttering guitar then the whole band kicks into gear as the organ takes the lead. Throughout The Art of Rolling, Soren V. Christensen plays the Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer, Vox Organ and Mellotron. He is the main ingredient that makes this band stand out from the pack and its sound hearken back to the old days
“Product of DK” starts up with Jorgenson’s drumming. He plays like Keith Moon, teetering on the brink of chaos, yet totally in control. His drumming is thunderous, and he rarely plays rhythm on the album nor should he as good as he is. Someone shouts off mike in the background and then the vocals kick in with an enthusiastic “Yeah Yeah,” which appears throughout the song. It is so simple, yet works so well. It is completely infectious and the audience at gigs will surely join in.
They cover “I Want You” by Graham John Clifton Bond, a lesser-known figure in the British blues-rock of the ’60s and ’70s. The song is a perfect fit for them, and it is good to see them draw attention to a smaller artist who slipped through the cracks of the scene.
The songs fly out of the speakers at a breakneck pace and don’t slow down until six tracks in on the country-blues ballad “Baby, I’ve Got Time.” Then things get wonderfully odd when The Blue Van makes a musical departure by performing an instrumental of orchestral psychedelia that is vintage The Moody Blues on “The Bluverture.” They get right back to the jumpin’ R&B, starting with their single “Revelation of Love.” Links to see and hear it are below.
“Take A Journey/Just Come Along” is advice Westmark offers on “The Remains of Sir Mason,” and it is a sentiment I enthusiastically echo. This CD needs to be played loud and often. You will enjoy listening to it as much as the band did playing it, evidenced a number of times by shouts of glee in the studio.
“Revelation of Love” Video – Windows Lo
“Revelation of Love” Video – Quicktime Lo
“Revelation of Love” Video – Windows Hi
“Revelation of Love” Video – Quicktime Hi
Other tracks can be sampled at their website.