Thom Hell – Happy Rabbit

Album Review | Lost Boy Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

The predominantly pink wash of colour on the cover artwork, together with the seemingly cheerful bunny illustration and accompanying album title gives absolutely no indication as to how good the music on Thom Hell’s latest full-length release actually is. The Norwegian singer-songwriter (real name Thomas Helland) pours just about everything into the mix, with all his influences not only evident in the songs themselves, but actually name checked on the inside sleeve, together with a series of tiny photographs with each influential LP held up by a small child. The songs pay homage to the variety of styles, presumably absorbed from an early age, but also manage to avoid sentimental nostalgia. The Beatles, and in particular McCartney’s sense of melody, is all over this record, especially on “Without You” and “Famous”, and echoes of the Beach Boys are there on “Blues in A”, whilst Jeff Lynne is so evident in the epic “In the Night” that it could quite easily have been heard filtering out through the windows of the spacecraft on the cover of ELO’s Out of the Blue. The highly melodic pop songs such as “Leave Me to Die”, pour out of this album like silver, all of which points to the studio genius of Thom Hell and Morten Martens’ production throughout. On the whole, the arrangements are dynamic and spirited with plenty of room for experimentation and tightly arranged harmonies. Above all though, this is a fine example of a noted musician trawling the annals of his own musical journey, with Happy Rabbit traversing all the musical avenues and from all directions.