Reunions is one thing. Getting back together and releasing a new album is another. You will always be judged by your original releases. But, did Ricochets just release the best Norwegian rock album of the year with “Closer to the Light”? Let’s find out!
Ricochets impressed critics with their albums between 2000-2005 before they disappeared from the face of the earth. Until the reunion in 2018. In between the first and second Ricochets serving, Trond Andreassen formed Navigators which released two albums before disbanding. Personally, I remember them best from an intimate concert at Siste Reis Pub.
But the reunion turned slowly into something more. Ricochets came back to Halden to record a new album, at the famous Athletic Sound Studio, where they also recorded their first albums in 2000, 2003 and 2005. The first glimpse of light (bad pun) came before Christmas last year, when they released the single “Shooting Star” and the light was strengthened with the release of the fabulous single “Galaxies (Dead End Street)”in January 2023.
Ricochets (2023) consists of Trond Andreassen, original member Knut Olsen (bass), and keyboardist Svenn Poppe Jr. (who joined in 2002). Additional members are Johan Edvardsson (drums and former member of Navigators) and Fredrik Gretland (guitar).
Is this team strong enough to match the 2000-2005 team?
Yes, yes, yes and holy cow!
Ricochets have released a really great album! With more than a few songs on the new album at the same level as those on their highly acclaimed “The Ghost Of Our Love” (2003) and amongst their best. Their musical inspirations are still 80s garage rock and 90s Scandi-rock, but they’ve added a touch of pop that, in my opinion, is highly welcome!
The album opens with two hard-rocking tracks. “Time To Go” and “Backseat Drivers”. The two are followed by “Shooting Star” which has a beautiful buildup with organ before the song explodes with howling vocals and chopping piano riffs.
The title track “Closer To The Light” is a moshpit-friendly piece that would make all hands go in the air, before Ricochets slows down a bit with the beautiful ballad “Galaxies (Dead End Street),” with beautiful harmonies and Trond Andreassen delivers another great vocal performance.
“See Me Change” offers a very powerful drive with great guitar solos and the last song on the album, “True to Love” is a very strong finish beautifully delivered with Trond Andreassen’s powerful voice.
I’d give anything
I would sacrifice
I would have
paid the price
Everything for this
To be something else
But I am still here crying
I can’t let go
I can’t break the spell
I curse the clouds
But I can’t stop the rain
I’m crying my heart out
But I can’t stop the pain
All I see right now are heavy skies
Hanging over me
Hanging over me
And there ain’t no end in sight.
Here’s the situation
There ain’t no salvation
There ain’t no salvation for my soul
The album in total is a fantastic combination of ultra-catchy rock riffs with organ bliss, irresistible melodies, and raw vocals where Andreassen screams out his message of despair. In my opinion, “Closer To The Light” should rank VERY high when choosing this year’s best Norwegian album. I had the pleasure of seeing them live at Parkteateret at their last concert of their tour – it was such a hoot and I cannot wait until the next time.
Tracklist for Ricochets – Closer to the Light
1. Time to Go – 5:07
2. Backseat Drivers – 3:44
3. Shooting Star – 4:04
4. Closer to the Light – 3:54
5. Galaxies (Dead End Street) – 4:05
6. That’s How It Goes – 4:58
7. Figure It Out – 3:40
8. See Me Change – 4:34
9. Instincts – 4:59
10. True to Love – 5:03