Norwegian duo Petter Carlsen and Gøran Johansen formed Pil & Bue (which apparently translates rather neatly into Arrow & Bow) in 2013 and now have their fourth album on release. Called The World Is A Rabbit Hole, one listen will make you wonder how two guys can make such heavyweight noise… but they certainly do.
Imagine a proggy Royal Blood with Mars Volta overtones and a hint of Tool for good measure, better still, just listen to the thundering drums of Gøran and the deft use of baritone guitar by Petter and the weight is palpable. (The baritone guitar has a longer scale length, usually a larger body, and internal reinforcing, and heavy gauge strings, so it can be tuned to a lower pitch and even double as a bass.)
The opener ‘Rube Goldberg Machines’ does have some quiet sections but the overriding feel is a heavy rock riff with an edge and soaring vocals. (The title refers to the US equivalent of Heath-Robinson and refers to a deliberately over complex machine to perform a simple task.) ‘Select 2 Players’ is the best for me as it has a Heepy feel but only if Mr Box played baritone! It’s a many-layered song that takes a couple of listens to ‘get’; but when you do, it has so much to offer… the closing section is genius and brings a bit of Sabbath into the mix to keep it even more interesting. The title track is as intricate as the title itself; gentle intro with controlled falsetto vocals before it builds through increasing levels of weight and then back again.
The only minor criticism is that there are nowhere near enough solos to show off the guitar and its player and, even with the quiet bits, the riffs may be different but the distortion gives a false sense of the similarities so listen carefully and you will better appreciate the skills on show from this talented duo.
The World Is A Rabbit Hole is out in September