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Tivol - Interstellar Overbike

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Artist: Tivol

Album: Interstellar Overbike

Label: Last Visible Dog

Review date: Apr. 12, 2006


Tivol's first easily-available American release drops two extended jams and one shorter epilogue, just over half an hour of thickly distorted riffing squarely in the space rock mold. With the hairy biker artwork and punning title, this might have instead been called Hall of the Mountain Bike, as this is closer to Hawkwind than Floyd.

Certainly, Tivol's modernization is denser and noisier than Hawkwind, and bears some debt to High Rise and more recent purveyors of psych-space jamming (Comets on Fire's more rocking moments come to mind). This is straight-up space-bound riffage, headbanging guitars and burbling analog synths battling it out on the opening 15-minute "Tivoloid Part 1" atop a powerful, direct rhythm section, but they pummel far harder than, say, Vocokesh or Escapade. This is space rock for those who want more rock than space.

The vocals, like Hawkwind's, are earnest but minimal; only a couple of minutes of "Tivoloid Part 1" have any words. Being in Tivol's native Finnish, I can't tell you what they're singing about, even though the lyrics are thoughtfully provided in the CD. Perhaps it's better that way. Who knows.

"Pratkabarbaarit" is essentially more of the same steady guitar riffs, booming bass and pounding drums 16 minutes of no-holds-barred jamming. It doesn't slow down much even when the guitar makes a bit of room for alien-invasion synths to come whirring in the guitar's still churning away and the rhythm section's still hitting hard enough to drive a hole through the fabric of space. The song does as good a job of building to a peak as one might expect from a 16-minute sprawl, with a nicely conclusive finish.

The album closes with "Tivoloid Part 2: Raivaajat," a reprise of the opener, a radio-ready chunk with its propulsive riffing and near-operatic vocals condensed into just over five minutes.

Interstellar Overbike may not win any awards for originality, as its style is nothing new, but Tivol have succeeded in making a very enjoyable listen that's rather ideal for cranking up during a late-night drive down a straight, empty highway.

By Mason Jones

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