This is an expansive, Romantic album that creates the feeling that something extraordinary could happen at any moment. It also unselfconsciously takes itself seriously - nothing is in quotation marks here, which saves it from those occasions when it threatens to become overblown. By coming out of leftfield, Stian Westerhus & Pale Horses have created what will surely be one of this year's most artistically impressive and satisfying contemporary rock albums.
The Quietus (UK)
It's rare that Rune Grammofon release anything with what you might call hit potential, which is why this debut from Stian Westerhus's new outfit is such an ear-opener. Together with keyboardist Oystein Moen and drummer Erland Dahlen, the guitarist has created an album of widescreen avant pop whose songs could conceivably fit snugly on mainstream radio, even with its subtly experimental approach to song and texture. The Blue Nile are probably the most obvious reference point, especially given that Westerhus's voice is a dead ringer for Paul Buchanan's. There's even a touch of U2 circa "The Unforgettable Fire" to these emotional epics, which, along with Westerhus's open-throated vocal, is likely to raise eyebrows.
The Wire (UK)
His vocals sit somewhere between Thom Yorke and The Blue Nile´s Paul Buchanan. It suits the fraught, angts-driven sound emanating from the Pale Horses project and its prog-inspired vocabulary. It's a suite of songs that generally avoid the usual verse / chorus trap by taking a more circuitous and sometime occluded route, there are nevertheless times when "Maelstrom" ´s tumultuos rolls spill and crash into something approximating stadium swagger. They generate a carnous, My Bloody Valentine-style industrial thrum refracted through the widescreen prism of Simple Mind-type sonics, and it's remarkably accessible. If you´ve not encountered Westerhus´ impassioned playing before you´ll find this isn´ta bad place to begin.
… “Don´t Say That You Care” begins as an intimately weird chamber pop, in which small sound detonations mix. Despite the experimental focus, this piece is held together by Westerhus' heart-wrenching vocals, reminiscent of the melancholy tone of the great Scott Walker. It is also masterly how drummer Erland Dahlen intervenes unnoticed in the action and drives the music until Westerhus' voice rises to dizzying heights and initiates an orgiastic finale ... 9/10. CD of the month.
Yes to the hangman, these are completely new sounds! STIAN WESTERHUS sings !! Right at the start of the album Maelstrom (RCD 2156), recorded with PALE HORSES, he fervently croons "Don't say you care", a sigh that Erland Dahlen and Øystein Moen drama and drone highly dramatically. This is followed by 'Nights and sleepless days' as a rag with guitar howls and synthetic fireworks, with the final cat woe of a returning lover who is in danger of being destroyed. Soul burns, 'Bed on fire', time to turn the clock back to use forgotten possibilities in a second attempt. After three ghostly minutes, the maelstrom of life starts again, with a moaning guitar and howling moening. Moog, Mellotron, Prophet? No matter what he tracts there, it ends in the ahhh of a choir. And it's 'on and on', with trembling strings and dream-catching vocals. Dahlen knocks a fateful beat, Moen pings great piano notes, Westerhus is depressed by the feeling of being betrayed. From the heart fibers to the guitar strings, everything is trembling painfully. That you are led by a dream and still cannot let it go. With a head voice and languishing intensity, Westerhus gives everything to be heard with this elegiac hymn, even if the dark passage is long and ghostly. Dahlen denels, Moen screws on the Moog, the vocal cord rolls backwards again. With 'Chasing Hills' there is growing hope near Westerhus that the Jammer Valley will finally reach higher ground. The beat is monotonous, but steady, the bluesy organ hums up the stairs and the guitar climbs step by step, vigorously pushed forward by Dahlen's drum beats. Higher, ever higher, and after a trillful culmination exhausted swaying between bass register and head voice. The title track comes from the other side, ghostly and sublimely dazzling, the vocals translucent. And then Westerhus spreads his wings and surrenders to the wind and Dahlen's rolling fanfare, the guitar a howling and trilling ecstasy in the highest tones, Moen a single hiss! Until the blows of a poor sinner bell ring this love dream, this love madness. It could hardly be more fantastic. and after a trillful culmination exhausted swaying between bass register and head voice. The title track comes from the other side, ghostly and sublimely dazzling, the vocals translucent. And then Westerhus spreads his wings and surrenders to the wind and Dahlen's rolling fanfare, the guitar a howling and trilling ecstasy in the highest tones, Moen a single hiss! Until the blows of a poor sinner bell ring this love dream, this love madness. It could hardly be more fantastic. and after a trillful culmination exhausted swaying between bass register and head voice. The title track comes from the other side, ghostly and sublimely dazzling, the vocals translucent. And then Westerhus spreads his wings and surrenders to the wind and Dahlen's rolling fanfare, the guitar a howling and trilling ecstasy in the highest tones, Moen a single hiss! Until the blows of a poor sinner bell ring this love dream, this love madness. It could hardly be more fantastic. the guitar a howling and trillant ecstasy in the highest notes, Moen a single hiss! Until the blows of a poor sinner bell ring this love dream, this love madness. It could hardly be more fantastic. the guitar a howling and trillant ecstasy in the highest notes, Moen a single hiss! Until the blows of a poor sinner bell ring this love dream, this love madness. It could hardly be more fantastic.
Bad Alchemy (DE)
... Now Westerhus amazes again by presenting a clean rock album in his trio with keyboardist Øystein Moen and drummer Erland Dahlen, on which he also appears as a singer. "There must be another way" he murmurs in the first piece and demonstrates in the the next less than an hour that there had long been another side in him waiting for her revival ... ... At first you might think of a continuation of Art Rock, as it had peaked in King Crimson, hear moments, reminiscent of Coldplay or Radiohead, or wondering about parallels to Talk Talk's late albums in Westerhus' insistent vocals. At some point, however, it doesn't matter, because you have fallen for the suggestive of this music, whose dogma-free strength and force grows with every hearing. You hear topics that cut in, Finesse and immense pressure combine completely unused guitar choruses, keyboard swaths and a drumset between brutality and drive, which increases and increases the events. You won't hear simple three-minute hits on this potential favorite record ...
Leipziger Volkszeitung (DE)
The Norwegian Stian Westerhus is one of Europe's exceptional guitarists in - yes, which genre? Anyone who has seen him in a duet last year at the Moers Festival in a guitar noise that gets under his skin with vocalist Sidsel Endresen, who formulates abstract sounds, who knows his collaborations with Nils Petter Molvaer or Jaga Jazzist, is pleased with the successful volte, when Westerhus in the electronic rock trio Pale Horses (with drummer ErlandDahlen and keyboarder Oystein Moen) structured his music a bit more traditionally and grounded, but then got the resulting tracks to fly wonderfully. Not surprisingly, the experimental side of Radiohead or the psychedelic late works of Talk Talk are audibly in the room.
Stian Westerhus is certainly one of the most interesting experimental guitarists that Norway has produced. His new project is supported by his band colleague Øystein Moen on the synthesizer, who, like Stian, is also active in JAGA JAZZIST and PUMA. The trio is completed by Erland Dahlen on drums. Unfortunately, this project project is not as sophisticated as I hoped after Stian's collaboration with jazz singer Sidsel Endresen. This time the sound tends in a conventional direction and pleasant, but no less exciting soundscapes evoke SIGUR RÓS
Three musicians at work here: Stian Westerhus (guitar, vocals), Øystein Moen (keyboards) and Erland Dahlen (drums, percussion). Westerhus is known for his abstract guitar playing, like for example on 'Didymoi Dreams' an album with vocalist Sidsel Endresen. Among his collaborations are projects with Puma, Nils Petter Molvær, Jaga Jazzist, the Britten Sinfonia, etc. The three already played together in Puma. Moen is also a member of Jaga Jazzist, and Westerhus once guested on one of their albums. I guess with this new release they wanted to move more towards straight rock. As Puma and other projects show also influences of jazz and improvisation. But when I say rock, I mean rock of a particular kind. The pieces on this album are best described as ballads or songs, featuring engaged singing by Westerhus. They pick up where bands like Coldplay and Radiohead stop. Music that is bombastic, but not in a negative sense, as this music is also very emotional. Experimental, moving between song and soundtexture.
Vital Weekly (NE)
All the på åpningskuttet "Don't Say That You Care" he det nests som han synger seg i transe, the han repeterer og repeterer tittelfrasen, og presser leverage mot grensen av yteevnen. Ikke en sånn «gitarist prøver å synge» -stemme heller, men en skikkelig Klangrik, vakker stemme med stort register, fra malmfull grumling til lys falsett ... Sjangeren er vanskelig å definere, men jazz er det i grunnen ikke, selv om det i partier minner om Chasers-trioen to Terje Rypdal. He is the innslag av britisk kunstpop, og dragninger mot progrock. Ofte låter det helt gigantisk - de er ikke redde for å dra på, i låter som «Bed On Fire», eller det avsluttende tittelsporet, som svinger mellom store høyder og mørke dyp… dette er et like vellykket som uventet steg fra en artist som hele tida passer på at vi ikke helt vet hvor vi har ham. 5/6.
Guitarist hans he det fascinerende bakteppet som hele tiden skifter form og farge, mens den emosjonelle og uttrykksfulle er limet. Westerhus høres ut som en krysning mellom Thom Yorke, Nick Cave and Josh Homme the han veksler mellom crooning, falsett og mørk murring. The worst overraskelsen he hvor tilgjengelig det låter. It has a pop-up sensitivity that han forener med sin hang til the location bevrende og innfløkte lydkollasjer. En mer rustikk utgave av Radiohead på sitt mest eksperimentelle kan være en OK ledesnor ... Glem konvensjonelle structurer, er he det bare å la seg lede ut i fristelse. 5/6.
Når old-multi-guitarist Stian Westerhus star rockeband, he results tungt, mørkt og deilig alvorlig. "Maelstrom" he en massiv opplevelse som krever god musikalsk fordøyelse. He storslått og sentimentalt, i Lange og komplekse sanger. Westerhus he overalt i lydbildet med sin stemme og gitar, og Moen og Dahlen blir til tider redusert til komp, men det er også sammen med nettopp dette competent at Westerhus får så mye ut av de mange ideene og mulighetene. I mylderet av referanser clearly bandet å skape noe som gir lytteren inntrykk av at de strekker seg mot grensene for hva et rockeband Skal foreta seg - og, på sitt Beste, ut over disse grensene.
Stian Westerhus he en virkelig innovativ norsk gitarist, som de siste årene har vist en vilje til originalitet og variasjon, uventede utbrudd og vridde atmosfærer, som svært få kan matche. Her begir han seg inn i en mer concrete rock variant, som bare innimellom berører ytterkantene av ekstremmusikken og mest av alt bygger på drivende rytmer, suggestive space-rock og svært solid samspill ... "Maelstrom" kan fort bli en framtidig referanse, som et eksempel på musikere som utforsker rommet i sangene, og som skaper et stadig ekspanderende univers av melodilinjer, lyd-massiver og genuint poetiske partier. Dette albumet har classic-kvaliteter, det blir mer interesting in takt med antall gjennomhøringer. Det he i det hele tatt en av disse sjeldne platene som knapt slutter å vokse.