Back in 2002, I had the opportunity to review the band�s EP, �Get It While It�s Cold�, which was available as a download at the time. Since then the band has released Bravo (2003) and When Earth Lets Go (2004). Now in 2005, they have released through Marillion's "Intact" label Firebird. Up until earlier this year I was unaware that Gazpacho had any releases after that EP I reviewed, so I sought out the other two releases to help me compare Firebird to.
As with all the releases so far, the main members of the band have been Jan Henrik Ohme (vocals), Jon-Arne Vilbo (guitars) and Thomas Anderson (keyboards and production). In 2004 they expanded to include drummer Robert Johanssen. This gave the band a more organic sound, not that their music previously wasn�t good but I prefer bands to have real drummer in the fold. I guess I�m old-fashioned about that sort of thing. Bassist Roy Funner left the band shortly before recording of the Firebird album began. He was replaced by Kristian Torp, who is listed as "additional musician". I�m sure that was a oversight on behalf of the band and on the next album they�ll include him amongst the �band�.
Firebird in many ways is closer to When Earth Lets Go, than Bravo. Due mostly to the more experimental nature of how the music is created. I mentioned in my review of �Get It While It�s Cold� that Gazpacho�s style of music was close to Marillion�s latter day sound. That still holds true but there�s also a Radiohead similarity as well in some of the more experimental parts. Since that EP, I hear the band evolving with each release and on Firebird they reached a maturity that solidifies their place in modern rock history.
There�s not a bad song on the album, which makes it hard for me to pick a favorite. I will say I enjoy some of the more heavier tunes such as Prisoner more than the mellower dark and gloomy opener Vulture. Depending on my mood, my favorites change,
While to many Gazpacho isn�t progressive in the classic sense of the genre, it does follow on the true meaning of the word. normal sense of the word. With Firebird, Gazpacho delivers, in my opinion, their strongest album to date! I would recommend this album to fans of the aforementioned bands will enjoy this album as well as fans of The Cure, U2, Coldplay, Aqualung and many others.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on November 26th, 2005