Motorpsycho Phanerothyme

You know in cartoons sometimes when a snowball is dropped on a hillside and it rolls down, gaining mass and momentum, increasing to the size of a compact car? One suspects a similar phenomena has transformed this Norwegian band over its 13-year history. Not only has their rolling ball gathered musicians (the band has 16-plus members), but musical styles that sprawl across jazz, prog, indie and experimental fields. To wit, the first three tracks of Phanerothyme go from string-happy Nick Drake-ish folk to Freddie Mercury-meets-Jimi Tenor indie psychedelia to a frightening piece resembling a Styx song penned by Tim Rice. Strangest of all is how well it all works together. Instead of suspecting it's a hoax, soon you're feeling like you may have found a long lost '70s über-jam that ties together the works of Yes, the Doors and the Godz. Such an album is not without its pitfalls, but what guilty pleasure is free of them? Instead of worrying about it just let the Motorpsycho snowball roll over you. (Stickman)