Andorra: Current

The Danish quintet's second album dwells on prog and MoR rock, tinted with jazz, ambient and hip-hop flavours

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A lovely relaxed shuffle figure (a touch reminiscent of the Shadows) opens this second album from the Danish fusion quintet Andorra, before the heat and the beat of this jazz-rock item gets turned up some. The group’s eponymous 2021 debut on April Records came with an imprimatur from Palle Mikkelborg, who spoke of Andorra as having found the sort of creative space of which the Danish trumpet-with-electronics maestro had long dreamt: “a free, creative, spiritual space with no boundaries where you can find your own voice and individual expression”. 

There’s no sleeve-note here, but then, how do you follow Palle Mikklelborg? Happy Men continues the spacious yet richly textured wide-screen ambience of the opening Mother Tongue, with some distant echoes of Jeff Beck and Jan Hammer in their blazing jazz-rock days together, before the spectrum shifts to meditative echoing flugelhorn over a spaced and heavy (but not ponderous) beat.

By this stage it’s clear that while Andorra has estimable instrumentalists, group colour, electronic textures and shifting moods are central to their work. But then the following Kuriosa showcases some serious chops, with burning lines from Krebs, la Cour and Møller over the sort of pulse which shows how well Andorra can swing within the clipped fusion idiom: Bundvig, a fine drummer, takes no prisoners here.

Where’s The Any Key conjures a more mellow mood from its back-beat and bottom-rich figures until Krebs comes on fine and strong, while Forecast moves back into relaxed shuffle territory. The piece offers a welcome “breathing” coda to what is a most enjoyable, mood-rich while often high-octane session: hear the concluding drum figures and programmed electronica which bring things to a close.

In his February 2022 review of Andorra’s first album, Derek Ansell concluded that “The band play their own music with conviction and have produced an original jazz-fusion ensemble sound which is unlike any other I have heard.” Spot on, Derek.

Discography
Mother Tongue; Current; Happy Men; Kuriosa; Where’s The Any Key; Forecast (49.09)
Simon Krebs (g); Mads la Cour (flh); Peter Kohlmetz Møller (elp, kyb); Morten Jørgensen (elb); Nikolaj Bundvig (d). Stenstrup, March 2022.
April Records APR 109CD