The Samuel Jackson Five – The Samuel Jackson Five

This is the first full album I have heard from this Norwegian band and it’s already one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, which probably says more about how unexciting this year has been so far than how good this album is. They have a great band name which is both a play on the name of the actor Samuel L. Jackson as well as the Jackson 5. Apparently this is their first album to feature vocals, but it’s the instrumentals that stand out here. Good use is made of mandolin which adds diversity to the bands brand of post-rock. The album starts with some glitch style digital delays and whatnot. Then some mallet percussion, drums and distorted bass dominate “Never Ending Now” before some vaguely intricate guitar playing arrives. At the end the drums become barely audible and pushed back in the mix.

“Mockba” has a great melody on fuzz-toned guitar along with wordless harmony vocals and mandolin. Goes into a stereotypical post-rock vibe for awhile. Some nice synth gets added eventually. The beginning section gets reprised and then it ends in a cacophony as the sound is slowed down. “Electric Crayons” is the first of the vocal songs. Almost sounds like a decaffeinated Mars Volta mixed with some 1980s New Wave band. Decent song but nothing special. I don’t know if the title of “Radio Gagarin” has anything to do with the first man in space (as far as we know) but going by the album cover you would almost think so. Dark piano chords introduces this track which features some great memorable mandolin playing. Everything gets a little looser and improv sounding in the middle with the piano doing some almost classical sounding quasi-soloing. Some heavenly female vocals show up and the song returns to it’s original path.

“Race To The Self-Destruct Button” has some metal style riffing on guitars while the rhythm section is more math-rock oriented. Some lovely wordless harmony vocals float over top. Some picking on clean guitar later as those vocals become a little different. Great song but too short. “Ten Crept In” is another vocal song. This sounds very indie rock. It’s a good well- written song but it’s hardly anything you could call ‘prog’ or ‘post-rock’ or anything like that. “A Perennial Candidate” opens with great sounding electric piano before tom-tom centred drumming and ‘real’ piano join it. Love the chord changes here. Later some sax changes the song into an odd-metered rhythm. The music returns to the opening part with some nice sax soloing. “Tremulous Silence” is the last vocal song. Sounds like some kind of alternative rock from the 1990s featuring organ and sax.

“And Then We Met The Locals” has dated sounding sequencer patterns and guitar picking getting joined by some tremoloed guitar. The bass and cymbals come in and everything gets brighter and more melodic. The guitar playing reminds me of some 1980s rock in places. Nice sax in this track. Goes into a more typical post-rock vibe with a synth soloing over top. This song changes back and forth quite a bit, the most interesting song compositionally. Some skronky sax playing turns the band ugly while beautiful singing pushes the clouds away and lets the sunshine in. This self-titled album is a good, consistent release from 2012. This has great sound and production values and a good front cover to boot. I should investigate their earlier albums in full, not just a few songs here and there.


1. Never-Ending Now
2. Mockba
3. Electric Crayons
4. Radio Gagarin
5. Race To The Self-Destruct Button
6. What Floats Her Boat
7. Ten Crept In
8. A Perennial Candidate
9. Tremulous Silence
10. …And Then We Met The Locals
11. Low Entropy


* Sigmund Bade – bass, keys, baritone guitar
* Stian Tangerud - drums, percussion, sampler
* Thomas Kaldhol - guitars, mandolin
* Thomas Meidell - guitars, keys, theremin, voice
* Jonny Knutsen - guitars, lapsteel, bass, voice


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