AIRBAG – A Day At The Beach (2020)
Prog rockers AIRBAG are set to release their fifth full-length album “A Day At The Beach” next 19th June on Karisma Records. Hailed as one of the most important bands to emerge from the Norwegian prog scene over the past decades, Airbag was formed in the mid 2000’s by five high school class mates which included two of today’s members Asle Tostrup (vocals) and Bjørn Riis (guitars).
“A Day At The Beach” is inspired by the resurgence of 1980s electronica, new wave and movie scores based in Airbag’s trademark progressive melodies. The first sounds a band makes are always important and memorable – or they should be; pulsing synthesizer lines open “Machines and Men”. Very cool. Then electric guitar and cymbals and robotic voice appear saying “Here they come, Marching on, One by one. They’ll be gone, With boots and guns, Shouting loud Machines and men. Thy heaven sent”. Then some awesome synthesizers and battle-like atmospherics. Perfect opening capturing your imagination as they create the machines war-like imagery.
“A Day at the Beach, Part I” opens with deep piano and synths atmospherics. Tostrup sings, “Down on the beach. Floating around. You’re on the TV. You’re on my phone”. Drum beats, big bass and guitars build a very cool soundscape. You feel like you are there, and that is so very important.
“Into the Unknown” starts with building bass notes and drums, with the synths streaming in the background. The sound takes me back to the late ‘70s, early ‘80s prog.
“Sunsets” is a nice surprise at first with some cool unique guitar. Tostrup sings about a comfortable routine the bass work and keys create a rare symbiosis
“A Day at the Beach”, Part II” begins with what sounds like an electronic warning signal. Then a Pink Floyd-esque, heartbeat pulse and eerie keyboards give the song its own personality. The guitar work on this track is some of the best on the album.
“Megalomaniac” is a slow guitar grinding syndrome. Tostrup whines, “You always get what you want. Always get what you need. More than anyone. You, with your suit and tie, and your firm hand shake. We’re the best of friends”. Deep bass and those repeating guitars, coupled with a good drum beat make this one a highlight. The final guitar solos reminds me of a Kansas song.
“A Day At The Beach” is a quite unusual blend of classic prog rock and modern stuff using some electronics and synths creating atmospheres, with the occasional guitar and drum section.
This album definitely has nod to ’80s, and is very ‘progressive’ in a way that tries to expand the prog rock genre with a new, interesting sound.
01 – Machines And Men
02 – A Day At The Beach (Part 1)
03 – Into The Unknown
04 – Sunsets
05 – A Day At The Beach (Part 2)
06 – Megalomaniac
Asle Tostrup – lead vocals, keyboards, programming
Bjоrn Riis – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals
Henrik Fossum – drums
Kristian Karl Hultgren – bass