BENTE SMAAVIK – 1979-2011 (2012)
Norwegian BENTE SMAAVIK has been singing since her teens when debuted as vocalist if the punk band Per Kleppe & Skattesnylterne in 1978.
The lady has recorded and toured with countless European bands, but maybe Bente’s better known international project was being one of the dual lead vocalists for ’80s act Blonde On Blonde.
In “1979-2011” she looks back to her long and eventful career that is far from over.
“1979-2011” is like a showcase CD covering her contributions as vocalist from the last 25 years, even including own original material from her 2004’s 3-track EP.
After her punky start, Bente joined dancing rock band Four Jets, and during the ’80s she turned into melodic hard rock bands such as Road, Blonde On Blonde, later Perfect Crime, and more recently The Jan Holberg Project with Joe Lynn Turner.
All that stuff is presented here, and while every track has its uniqueness, melodic hard rock is the common denominator. It also applies when Smaavik acts as a solo artist and as a guest singer for others, eg. Jimmy Iversen, a musician who appears in several of the bands she has sung in.
The album is set up in the order where her newly recordings comes first and the oldest last. Having started with her ’78 demos with a punk band would have given a totally wrong type of impression for those who are not familiar with Smaavik career.
So we start with a contribution in a track for Jimmy Iversen’s last year album, the bluesy midtempo “Walk With Me” which shows Smaavik clear and melodious pipes.
The AORish melodic rocker “Vision Of Lust” is one of the best tracks here, Bente’s duet with Joe Lynn Turner from the great Jan Holberg Project ‘Sense Of Time’ album.
Then we have “Hard To Say Goodbye”, a great cover of Stage Dolls for their Scandinavian tribute album, the really nice melodic anthem “Vinterfolket” which was the official song to the 2008 Ski Championships held in Norway, and the piano piece “I Natt” recorded with the band Hammers Harem.
From Bente’s own EP, “Leaves In The Wind” is the only track featured here, a vocal dominated strong rock&pop tune performed with energy.
“Hot Stuff” is a cover made with Blonde On Blonde of Donna Summer’s classic, while “Orn-Sangen (Eagle Song)” is the anthem for the Trondheim Eagles football club. Cool tracks.
“Stripped To The Bone” and “Am I Right” are winners. Both are taken from Perfect Crime’s album Blonde To Blonde, classic sounding female fronted Melodic Hard Rock songs plenty of hooks and fine choruses.
Followers “Love Me Or Leave Me” and “Sail Away” are also strong tunes recorded with Blonde On Blonde, the former a great rocker in the FM nineties style, the latter more melodic rock oriented with a marching rhythm.
“Normal Life” is taken from his contribution to the 1986 album with the band Road, an obscure recording much sought after by collectors.
The remaining stuff is the less interesting; the poppy “Good Trip To Paris” with Four Jets, and two poor sounding tracks from her origins with Per Kleppe & Skattesnylterne.
“1979-2011” is like a presentation card from Bente Smaavik, a really good female singer owner of a colorful and potent register.
For Melodic Hard Rock listeners this is a more than recommended CD, because as said, most of the material featured here waters this style, and with very good songs.
Hope Bente Smaavik have the chance in the future for a full length album on her own. She is truly professional and capable.
01 – Walk With Me
02 – Vision Of Lust
03 – Hard To Say Goodbye
04 – Vinterfolket
05 – I Natt
06 – Leaves In The Wind
07 – Hot Stuff
08 – Ørn-Sangen
09 – Stripped To The Bone
10 – Am I Right
11 – Love Me Or Leave Me
12 – Sail Wway
13 – Normal Life
14 – God Tur Til Paris
15 – Per Kleppe Og Skattesnytera
16 – Benny Bankboks
BUY IT !