Named after the French-invented hot-air balloon, this debut album is the sound of a young quartet from Helsinborg, Sweden, leaving the nest and learning to fly. Montgolfière is the first album in a trilogy about the rise and fall of civilisations as experienced by a group of more-or-less ordinary people. To start, the band display their stoner rock roots with the opening track Edge Of Civilization fiercely following that lead, somewhere between Spiritual Beggars’ psychedelic groove and Earthless’ furious shredding. But soon a more subtle personality is unveiled, with luminous guitar harmonics and plenty of Fender Rhodes capturing a jazzier side, all four members sharing vocals.
Montgolfière not only have complexity and expertise but are prog in the sense that they follow wherever inspiration takes them. A great sense of freedom permeates here: when they want to rock, they rock hard. And when they don’t, they wander sweetly across the astral plane, allowing their inherent Scandinavian melancholy to shine through.
This first flight might be a tad too loose for toughened progheads but they’ll gain altitude and you’ll want to see where they travel to next.