Have you ever gotten a music recommendation from a friend for a completely obscure band before? Sometimes it can be pretty bad, or it can be very good.
In my case, I found what was perhaps my album of the year for 2019. This album is called “A Boat on the Sea” by Norwegian pop and progressive rock band Moron Police.
Let me tell you, this thing is worth all 32 minutes that it takes up. Just thinking about it as I’m writing this review is making me giddy.
The hooks and the songs in general are all so so so catchy. It is crazy how some of the songs won’t leave your head when listening to this thing.
The album starts with the opening track “Hocus Pocus,” a slower track used to set up the first full track “The Phantom Below.”
“The Phantom Below” starts with a very boisterous keyboard-guitar feature, which sets the tone for the rest of the album. The different guitar and keyboard riffs peppered throughout this track are so whimsical and just plain pleasant to listen to. Some are reminded of intro themes to some Japanese anime series, and I agree.
The album’s lyrics share a sentiment of anti-war and criticism of America’s war economy. Those themes are seen especially in the track “The Invisible King.”
Those themes continue into the next track “Beware the Blue Skies.” There is also added mention to their home country of Norway, which they criticize for being hypocrites and working with America in their war economy.
The subject matter of the songs may seem bleak and would maybe drive some people away. But with the uniqueness of the songwriting and just how pleasant the melodies are on this album, it gives it such life and vibrancy.
“The Dog Song” is the next track on the album. Another very vibrant track which looks at the life of a household pet. Other tracks feature the saxophone, but this one is very heavy on it, and I love it.
Next, we get the frantic and also brilliant “Captain Awkward.” This has to be my favorite track in the bunch. Just listening to it again for this review will have its opening guitar riff stuck in my head for the next six months at least. If you had to pick any of the songs to check out from this album, this would have to be my suggestion. Just the way that it’s composed and performed is just so good. The break in the middle also adds this certain depth to the song which makes it that much more enjoyable.
The pace keeps up with the next track “The Undersea.” The song is yet another quality look at the level of musical talent that this group has. Sondre Skollevoll, the guitarist and vocalist of the group does a tremendous job with the vocal melodies on this whole album. This track does a great job to show his range and ability as a singer, especially when playing the difficult guitar passages throughout.
The album ends with the track “Isn’t It Easy.” For it being the final track, I find it pretty fitting that the first part of it sounds like it would fit well as final boss fight music for a video game. About three minutes in, you find yourself hearing an instrumental part which you could mistake for a part in a Dream Theater song. The intensity in parts of the track added with the melancholic parts together make this a great outro track.
Every time I listen to this album, it’s really hard for me not to crack a smile. The songs are so damn catchy. You will have at least one of the licks in the songs stuck in your head for a long time. For a band with only about 18,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, they have made one hell of an album. A true contender for album of the year for 2019 and maybe even album of the decade.