Thomas Dybdahl
The Great Plains


3.7
great

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
February 27th, 2017 | 21 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Soul soothing Norwegian blend of folk/Americana/indie pop and R&B...

After a 4-year gap, Norwegian singer songwriter, Thomas Dybdahl is back with a new record. Its title was taken from a song off the deluxe edition of his excellent 2013 LP, What’s Left Is Forever, also signaling a connection between the two. The Great Plains goes down the same eclectic path, blending indie pop, Americana, folk and R&B into one warm mix. Albeit slightly more subdued than on its predecessor, Thomas guides us through an emotional rollercoaster as each song manages to create detailed pictures of certain moments in life whether uplifting or nostalgic.

Dybdahl always stood somewhere between mainstream and underground, because his albums are a bit too complex for random listeners. They are not such an easy listen, always anxious to delve deeper into moody territory. Since Waiting for that One Clear Moment, he gradually moved towards poppier sounds, but keeping that classy attitude. What’s Left Is Forever brought best together the two main trademarks he’s been alternating and most probably that newfound stability was the starting point here. The most touching songs on the record are undoubtedly ‘Baby Blue’ and ‘Bleed’, two gorgeous, mainly acoustic epics. The former builds a cozy atmosphere based on a picked, country blues rhythm, on top of which an electric guitar and keyboards add lovely leads. Nevertheless, Thomas’ smoky voice is the main focus, especially when doubled. ‘Bleed’ closes the album with an elegant slow beat and sparse instrumentation. The vocals grow with each verse as a piano plays some melancholic notes throughout. What I love most is the difference between the choruses and verses, where everything seems to catch life and then fall back into a lethargic state.

On the contrast, ‘3 Mile Harbor’, ‘Like Bonnie & Clyde’ and ‘Just a Little Bit’ bring the energy The Great Plains needs. Perhaps closest to the pop tunes of the previous album (‘Man on a Wire’ to be more specific), ‘3 Mile Harbor’ brings the sweetest sounds, especially during the infectious chorus where Dybdahl’s falsetto is truly charming. Meanwhile, the piano and acoustic guitar-led boogie of ‘Like Bonnie & Clyde’ is damn catchy and (again) the vocals are truly noteworthy, whereas ‘Just a Little Bit’ boasts a cool R&B groove that would make George Michael (RIP) dance. The vintage electronic elements give an old school vibe with sudden detours and heavy bass intrusions. Even though it’s not an odd number in his catalog, here it definitely stands out as it is the only track going in this direction. Another beautiful song is ‘No Turning Back’, which fuses the Americana influences with faint dance beats. Shy at first, the summery strums push forward until everything unfolds on the chorus. Halfway, violins enhance the feel and take the spotlight with some rather dissonant leads towards the end. Then, after an eerie, vocoded mid-segment, we get a proper grand finale. The music is strangely uplifting though the lyrics tend to be more pessimistic in nature.

Overall, The Great Plains does a fine job in offering fans another set of delightful tracks. Even so, in my opinion, as a whole it doesn’t surpass What’s Left Is Forever. The best songs here match those peaks though, but there is less diversity throughout. I don’t want this to be seen like a flaw, because these are solid tunes. Thomas’ voice has never sounded better and the meticulous arrangements are beautifully unfolding with each listen. Definitely worth checking it out, dig it!



Recent reviews by this author
Chihei Hatakeyama Void XIDepeche Mode Spirit
The Brian Jonestown Massacre Don't Get LostTim Bowness Lost in the Ghost Light
Dot Hacker N°3Lo-Pan In Tensions
user ratings (12)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2017


4200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Great new album from Thomas, give it a try!



3 Mile Harbor - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqKLCVcAOvI

Moving Pictures - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lprAmVdTSg

Digging: Pallbearer - Heartless

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2017


11555 Comments


sounds in my wheelhouse, gracias

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 27th 2017


4200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Hope you like it, he's got a lovely voice.

protokute
February 27th 2017


346 Comments


he's got a lovely face too

jefflebowski
February 27th 2017


8514 Comments


nice review, made me want to check out his stuff

TwigTW
February 27th 2017


2312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Love this guys voice, album is nicely produced too.

Digging: Desperate Journalist - Grow Up

Sinternet
February 27th 2017


12311 Comments


oh shit i didnt even know about this

guy is pretty fucking good

Digging: Fight Like Apes - ...And The Mystery Of The Golden Medallion

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2017


11555 Comments


3 mile harbor is beautiful yes plz

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2017


4200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

If you dig this, you must listen to What's Left Is Forever too!

Dewinged
February 28th 2017


2946 Comments


Awsm review Raúl, this seems down my alley.

Plus he has a beard. I respect beards.

Digging: Adna - Closure

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
February 28th 2017


4200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Thanks!

TwigTW
February 28th 2017


2312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this just a bit less than One Day You'll Dance For Me, New York City--but just a little... I need to listen to What's Left Is Forever.

wtferrothorn
Contributing Reviewer
February 28th 2017


5298 Comments


sounds up my alley!

Dewinged
February 28th 2017


2946 Comments


So it's "up my alley" and not "down my alley"!?

All these years... I was wrong :_ (

TwigTW
February 28th 2017


2312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think 'up' and 'down' are interchangeable, although up is more common--at least in American English.

cfbassist
February 28th 2017


349 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is probably the album i enjoy the most start to finish from thomas, but it's just missing one of "those" tracks such as from grace.

Hawks
March 2nd 2017


48090 Comments


This sounds really sweet, gonna jam.

Digging: Thou - Heathen

Pangea
March 2nd 2017


2575 Comments


this sounds like something i would like. i'll give it a listen

Digging: Explosions in the Sky - The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place

tef
March 3rd 2017


121 Comments


Good to see some this reviewed here. Although you seem to like his last album "What's left...", I think it's one of his lesser efforts. Thomas seems to have lost his way as far as songwriting goes since his true masterpieces "Stray Dogs" and "That Great October Sound" are already quite old and after that he didn't really produce anything significant.
For anyone interested check these two albums out, true greatness! Also his collaboration with members of Jaga Jazzist called National Bank resulted in two very good albums, very much worth your time!

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2017


4200 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

I have his first three albums in a different category from the later ones. From Science onward he was hit and miss, but got back on track with What's Left.... There are many great songs on that album.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2016 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy