SPAN – Vs. Time

SPAN - Vs. Time


Release Date: March 2005

User Review
6/10 (5 votes)

Norway’s last year’s favorite debuting Hard Rock act Span are now claiming renewed attention with their second album, Span vs. Time. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like a whole lot has inspired them to create anything timeless.

One and a half years ago, everybody in Norway thought Span would be the country’s number one Hard Rock export article. They had it all: the attitude, the looks, the record company, the producer, and, last but not least, three stunning, killer singles released prior to their debut album. Everything looked bright.

Then Mass Distraction (read review here) hit the streets, and the band did a whole lot of domestic touring … considerable festivals included … but that’s about everything that happened. Any attempt Span made towards getting international attention failed, and their home country fan base did not seem to grow at any notable speed. Now, VS. Time is Span’s new attempt at justifying their career choice.

It seems like chasing a global breakthrough has been given up, not only due to the fact that the band now is signed with the Norwegian branch of Universal, aiming towards nothing but a Norwegian market, but also because the whole recording sounds disappointingly uninspired. The opening track, however, “Better Believe It,” is Span close to their best. The song is raw, punching, and energetic, and it reveals that the last year of singing live has developed frontman Jarle Bernhoft into an even better vocalist.

Track two, the single ”Cut Like Diamond,” follows the same vein – what Span does best: hard-riffing, energetic, and up-tempo Hard Rock. The rest of the album, however, is one big, boring downhill slope.

It’s been a while since the 90’s, and 2005 is seemingly ready for a post-Grunge wave. Who saw it coming? Anyway, if you want to enter into a retro thing, you either make it sound current, or you fail, and it sounds out-dated. Span has done the latter. For some reason, the band has chosen to produce the album themselves. Bad idea (the drum sound on “Sea,” for example, is nothing short of an embarrassment — a skilled producer would have noticed). VS. Time is full of old-fashioned, Grunge-ish, misery rock that just doesn’t fit anywhere in the present music scene, leaving track 5, “Living In A Suitcase,” as the last interesting moment on the album.

Another error the guys have made is to spend too much of their writing sessions on laid back, mellow material. This is not what they are good at, and they should have known better. Guitarist Joff Nilsen is great at riffing his guts out, but he is far from being a passionate musician. For some reason, Span has, in the music press, been compared to both Jane’s Addiction and Aerosmith. That comparison is quite a bit over the top, but if they go for adopting any of these veteran bands’ qualities, Span should concentrate on Jane’s raw, edgy, and uncompromising rock and roll, and leave the power ballads to the ‘Smiths.

All right. They are good with album titles, though, and they might still kick some serious ass live. Watch this space, we’ll let you know.


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