Sunday, September 26, 2010

Evil Tordivel - A Fine Young Man


Some years ago, a friend suggested I might listen to this album.  But he could tell me very little about the band behind this truly underground pop classic except that they were from Norway.  I did as much research as I could and found out the 'they' was actually a single individual.

According to extremely limited sources, A Fine Young Man was apparently recorded to cassettes in the unnamed individual's bedroom during his downtime as a psychologist.  No, seriously...  Internet searches reveal very little, something I find in this day and age to be quite compelling.  It means that all I can write about is the music, which is really what we're here for, isn't it?

Regardless of the enigma, this album is a pop gem.  It swells with so much joie de vivre, it is hard not to feel good after listening to it.  Nestled somewhere between the plumbed pop depths of Brian Wilson, the captivating psychedelia of The Flaming Lips and the pop electronica of Bran Van 3000, Evil Tordivel is also very much his own creation, a character not unlike the figurine on the front cover of this album, made of something other than flesh and blood but more alive because of it.

Opening with the 3/4 instrumental, Incipit Tordivel sets the tone for rest of the album.  Let's Go Beach highlights Tordivel's obvious love of Brian Wilson-inspired melody and harmonies as well as quirky sounds, while the title track, again in 3/4 time, also brings to bear a captivating array of clicks and whistles to accompany the calliope melody.  The acoustic guitar-driven minor gem of Psychic Chaos also utilises a range of whistles, pops and clicks that could be distracting but instead only add to the tone of the track.

You're In Love surprises with its dirty rock and double-tracked asynchronous vocals, while I'm In Love uses the addition of an accompanying female vocal track to build the melody of the song.  But this is only a taste of the treats this album has in store for the listener.  If you are a fan of great, quirky pop, then A Fine Young Man is an absolute necessity.  



I know he can speak English, because the songs are in English.  So why did he think that Evil Tordivel was a good name for a band?  A band that's not a heavy metal Satanist thrash band, that is?  Seriously, if YourZ hadn't brought this into the house I'd never have picked it up.  It's a bit like Ford Prefect thinking his name was ideal to blend into Earth society in Hitch-hiker's Guide all those years ago.

And while I can agree about the glorious popness that is A Fine Young Man, I disagree about the opening number.  Why on earth would anyone want to listen to an album that opens with what can only be described as carousel music on speed?  

I'm glad that YourZ got me to persevere with the CD, but I sometimes wonder if people like this really want anyone to buy their music.  Which you should, if you like glorious 60s-style melodies, lovely layered production and songs that hang around your subconscious.


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  1. Glad to see you mention this album/artist. Bound to be a classic one day. Some info; he's supposed to be a psychologist, living in Bergen, Norway. The 1st track of the album is appearantly a cover of a black metal song with children singing.He also released an EP with songs recorded to 4-track, and has a song on the Kings of Convenience album Versus.

  2. Thanks for the info. I was able to do a little research prior to this review and discovered the same about him. I just wish he'd put out another album.


  3. Sad news: The man behind Evil Tordivel passed suddenly away on june 26th. He was said to be very happy with his life at that point of time. Word has it that he produced a couple of hundred songs in the last years, although none of them ever was published. There might be a posthumous release.