Hedvig Mollestad Trio-Smells Funny.
Label: Rune Grammofon.

Ever since the Hedvig Mollestad Trio was founded in 2009, this inimitable group has been pushing musical boundaries and creating inventive and innovative genre-melting music. That is the case on their latest album Smells Funny, which was released by Rune Grammofon. It’s the sixth album since the Hedvig Mollestad Trio were founded in 2009 by guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen. 

The Hedvig Mollestad Trio hit the headlines when they played at the prestigious Molde International Jazz Festival in 2009. The newly formed band won the Jazztalentprisen award for the best “young jazz talent.” This was the start of the rise and rise of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio.

Two years later, in 2011, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio released their critically acclaimed debut album Shoot on Rune Grammofon. With their unique and inimitable genre-melting sound the future looked bright for the Hedvig Mollestad Trio.

Another two years passed before the Hedvig Mollestad Trio returned with All Of Them Witches in 2013. Not only did it received the same critical acclaim as Shoot, but won a Norwegian Grammy in the rock category. This set the bar high for the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s next album. 

When they returned in May 2014 with Enfant Terrible it was hailed as a career defining album. Enfant Terrible was the finest album of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s career. However after that, they concentrated on playing live for two years.

After this two year absence, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio returned with not one, but two albums. This included their fourth studio album Black Stabat Mater,  which is: “a genre-melting opus, that brings back memories of the golden age of rock.” The other album is Evil In Oslo, which is the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s first ever live album which was tantalising taste of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio live.

Now just under three years later, and after sharing the stage with jazz and rock royalty including John McLaughlin and Black Sabbath, one of Norwegian music’s most explosive and expansive groups, Hedvig Mollestad Trio, return with Smells Funny, their sixth album in eight years where they continue to win friends and influence rock and jazz fans alike with their new album Smells Funny.

For rock fans, there’s plenty of blistering, scorching, searing and soaring licks as the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. Sometimes when the Hedvig Mollestad Trio play with a looseness they’re reminiscent of early Black Sabbath. Other times, when they tighten up, they bring back memories of Led Zeppelin in their prime. Playing a starring role in the sound and success of the sound is Hedvig Mollestad who sometimes, seems to draw inspiration from Jimi Hendrix, and other times of John McLaughlin. That comes as no surprise on album where jazz and rock collide head on.

Away from the proliferation of rocky riffs, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio change direction and head towards much more free and open soundscapes like those that featured on their previous album Black Stabat Mater. This shows another side to a group fronted by one of the top guitarists in just Europe, Hedvig Mollestad.

Nowadays, there are way too many guitarists that are merely mediocre. That is a word that can never be used when describing the incredible Norwegian riffmeister Hedvig Mollestad. Her scorching, blazing and incendiary riffs have won fans amounts critics and record buyers who realise that Hedvig Mollestad is one of Europe’s finest and most versatile guitarists. However, the success of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio isn’t just down to its founder.

The Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s rhythm section is truly talented and enjoy their moment in the sub on Smells Funny. Drummer Ivar Loe Bjørnstad is neither a rock drummer nor a jazz drummer, but is versatile enough to play both genres of music with style, panache and sometimes a swagger. Other times, it’s case of providing the heartbeat while bassist Ellen Brekken holds down the groove or unleashes one of a series of technically complex runs. They’re part of the secret behind the music on Smells Funny and tracks like Beastie Beastie, First Thing to Pop Is the Eye, Lucidness and Bewitched, Dwarfed and Defeathered. These tracks mark the welcome return of the Hedvig Mollestad Trio after three long years away.

Smells Funny, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s new opus which was recently released by Rune Grammofon, is an album with its roots in the past and present. They should’ve been around at the same time as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix. Sonically and stylistically, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio’s music is a reminder of the golden age of rock, and its possible to imagine the Hedvig Mollestad Trio playing at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in Los Angeles or Fillmore East in San Francisco. However, the similarities between some of the legends of music and the Hedvig Mollestad Trio are no coincidence.

Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen who founded the Hedvig Mollestad Trio in 2009, grew up listening to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix. Their influence can be heard on Smells Funny. So can the influence of legendary fusion guitarist John McLaughlin. Closer to home, one can’t help but wonder whether Moster! and Motorpsycho have influenced the Hedvig Mollestad Trio? These bands have a similar genre-melting sound to the Hedvig Mollestad Trio. 

To create this genre-melting sound, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio fuse elements of rock with avant-garde, fusion, improv and jazz. Sometimes, the Hedvig Mollestad Trio seamlessly switch between musical genres mid track. Other times, disparate genres melt into one on Smells Funny as the Hedvig Mollestad Trio throw a musical curveball as they take the listener on a magical mystery tour as they reach new heights on their first album for three long years. Welcome back, and don’t stay away so long next time.

Hedvig Mollestad Trio-Smells Funny.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: