Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren Band A Special Album

Some might be thrown off by the corny album cover and title, but Ralph Myerz and the Jack Herren Band (a play on Russ Meyer and his cameraman) aren’t middle-aged, cruller-eating salesmen. Hailing from Norway, Ralph Myerz (Erlend Sellevold to his family) prolongs the ultra-cool, new chill craze set by experts Royksopp and Erlend Øye. With his copy of Air’s Moon Safari in tow, Myerz, along with the Jack Herren Band (Thomas Lönnheim and Tarjel Ström), hearken back to classic sounds from the ’60s and ’70s for inspiration. Shaping a serene and divine backdrop, the songs glide along with delicate tinges of dub, hip-hop, funk and house, like a soundtrack to a film by a younger Coppola. Undoubtedly, there is a strong Nordic feel as a wintry landscape hushes about with a heavy volume of cool present, but it lacks the magnetism that made Royksopp millionaires. A Special Album introduces some interesting concepts, like the fantastic, house number "Funky Biznizz” and it’s dub-friendly neighbour "Savannah.” The scope Myerz uses is extraordinary, but may be a little too wide at times, fluttering around like a moth on a light. Though we heard it done last year by their contemporaries, A Special Album is a nice companion to Melody A.M., but unfortunately never overcomes it. (Emperor Norton)