Album of the Week: Hubbabubbaklubb – Drømmen drømmerne drømmer

For as longs as I’ve been in Oslo there has been talk of an album. It was an album, that was a mere abstract thought, talked about in hushed tones and reverend whispers in clandestine locations. It always left a tense air of expectation wherever it went and it hadn’t even had a name yet. Today it has a name. Hubbabubbaklubb’ debut LP is finally here and it’s called; Drømmen drømmerne drømmer. What had been a metaphysical concept since the Oslo group released their first single has found its way into physical form and it’s occupying a very special place in our record collection. The album was released over the weekend with great fanfare and spectacular sold-out live show dubbed the flying circus in Youngstorget, but beyond the hype a truly remarkable musical document exists. Its up there amongst Todd Terje’s “It’s Album Time” and “Prins Thomas & Lindstrøm” as one of the best Norwegian LPs of our time.

Hubbabubbaklubb is something of an Oslo supergroup with people like Joystick Jay, Olefonken and André Bratten making their own significant contributions on Oslo’s musical soundscape as solo artists. Lead singer Morten Skjæveland is the force behind events like Skranglejazz and Hubba’s Klubb and a DJ, while brothers Pål Ulvik Rokseth and Ole Ulvik Rokesth influences can be felt in various other musical projects from the city, like Gundelach. Together, although sans André Bratten lately, they’ve been releasing music as Hubbabubbaklubb since 2013, absorbing various other musical characters in a mercurial band of troubadours whose sound moves through the great expanse of the known musical universe like a solemn glacier, consuming all and everything in their wake.

In many ways Drømmen drømmerne drømmer is a Hubbabubbaklubb greatest hits album, containing the singles “Mopedbart”, “Tomme Lommer” and “Eddie & Suzanne”. In the context of the album however there’s a sinuous bond that exists between these tracks and the rest of the album, that suggests they were always intended for an album, together. It seems like this LP was five years in the making with songs like “Mopedbart” – and I’m sure there are a few previously unheard pieces that are just as old if not older – only maturing with age.  The album is not  framed within a single contemporary period because these older pieces, which much like the fotos and the lyrics pasted on the impressive gatefold sleeve, exists beyond time, it’s a truly timeless record.

Drømmen drømmerne drømmer is made up of partisan songs, each with its own subtle differences, coming together in a truly distinct Hubbabubbaklubb sound. Lead vocalist Morten Skjæveland’s shy melodic reveries expressing lyrics with a nostalgic tongue in cheek  glare is in the foreground of the Hubbabubbaklubb sound with slow modulating textures moving through the gaps between beats and bass lines. There’s a delicateness to their music that is accomplished in the studio, where they distribute parts evenly across the musical spectrum like a band of musical Bolsheviks in a Monty Python sketch. Through a few key elements, they lay down serene textures that envelope extensive sonic pastures like an impressionist painting, with far reaching musical influences informing their work.

Whether they are getting folksy on “Fjellet” or tapping into soul and funk with “Den Hvite By”, the parameters of their sound are not exactly concrete, reaching far into a eclectic spectrum of music, but it’s always delivered in a way only the Hubbabbubbaklubb could. Remarkably they manage to channel this into one distinct voice every time throughout the record.

Each song is its own all-encompassing universe, and its hard to remember an album with so many radio friendly singles contained on one record, but there’s also a fluid exchange between the tracks where in the context of the other they only work in the album format. Like a William Burroughs narrative or a Quentin Tarantino plot-line, Hubbabubbuklubb create a fully-formed picture out of musical vignettes that come together under auspices of the LP. There isn’t a insignificant moment on Drømmen drømmerne drømmer and everybody will have their own highlight on the record. Much like those record mentioned earlier, Hubbabubbaklub’s debut LP has all the markings of a modern day classic and a truly timeless record.