Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation - The Hare And Hounds, Birmingham

by Mark Steele Rating: Release Date:

A packed room at one of Birmingham's finest smaller live music venues greeted Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation. Which prior to the band taking the stage, was tuned and prepped to the sounds of psych, rock, and funk vinyl spins.

The last night of their UK tour, performing much material from their new album - Mirage.  A few band member changes, Dennis Egberth on Drums, Frederik Joelson on Keys, Angela Won-Yin Mak (Prom, Parlour) on guitar and backing vocals, Rory Atwell (Test Icicles, KASMs, Warm Brains) on guitar, Patrik Thorman on Bass and of course Josefin on main vocals. Looking slightly weary but not the least deterred to give it some,  they elevated proceedings through new album track, 'State (I'm In)' into the air. Cruising rhythms, with keys and guitars, built the expectation, not for long, as Dennis's tom-tom jungle gallop ushered, pulsing bass, reverberating key tones and synchronised guitar chiming.

From this frequency cultivated by Josefin's enchanting vocals, it seemed as though invitations were scattered out amongst us all to open our minds, only of course if we obliged, and many of us did.  Soaring as a glorious illuminating phoenix, 'Take Me Beyond' emerged with its wings spread providing a welcoming warmth. Driving tight and most definitely sonically soothing.

The mesmerising key loops on 'In Madrid', joined by echoed guitar flutters, and complimentary cymbal splash's, seemed symbiotic with Josefin's soothsayer-like ritualistic swaying. This further coaxed the infectious groove of 'Rainbow Lollipop' evident on the nodding and dancing shadows present and made more potent with the inclusion of Angela's echoes, Patrik's locked-in fuzz bass, coolly picked rhythm, which quilted under the smokey french phrases by Josefin. As each song arrived and passed, it became evident that glowing essence was moving all onlookers closer into a seamless nirvanic pool. it is also worth mentioning that the well timed psychedelic projections aided in the experience.

The delivery of 'Running Through My Mind' was majestically graceful, a quicker paced pulsating rhythm than the LP version, moved into the toms barrage of 'Sunny Afternoon'. Tambourine wielding Angela, uplifted the near-stage crowd, alongside Josefin, with relative ease. There was also a pummeling crescendo that quite easily could have lifted the venue off its very foundations. A rapturous applause, whistling, chants of more and a much welcome encore ensued. The band returned with the funky freedom anthem 'Free' from the Diamond Waves EP, and later there was a driving final song of the evening with an all-out assault on the senses.

This was more than just another gig by Josefin Ohrn + The Liberation, it felt like a much-needed escape via a souped-up vimana heading into another dimension.

(Photo by Stuart Collier)

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