The term ‘retro rock’ is quite an ambiguous and, at times, ignorant one; used to describe any band that shows obvious traits from vintage bands whilst often ignoring when the band steps beyond these pigeonholes. Sweden’s Horisont have lived with the retro tag throughout their career with good reason up to this point, proving fairly rigid and set in their ways. On latest opus Odyssey (Rise Above) however, they have upped their game significantly.
Building on the slight elements of progressive rock on their last album, here those 70’s Prog influences are vivid and much more central to the album’s fabric, as evidenced by the opening 10 minute, synth driven title track. As much influenced by the likes of Jeff Wayne and Yes as the likes of Fleetwood Mac and even hints of psychedelic elements ala Hawkwind, Odyssey is a very colourful and quirky album that oozes character and charm with as many hooks as it has left-field signatures.
Where it suffers is in its duration; with two songs above the 8 minute mark and most others around 5-6 it proves a time consuming and somewhat arduous one to fully grasp and digest. Given time however and this has a wealth of gold to delve in to.
Where Horisont may have firm classic influences, from classic rock to the more progressive arena now, how they meld them together and evolve themselves shows why they are so much more than just a ‘retro rock’ act.
No less fun, but with a greater sense of discovery to them than many of their peers.