Ockra, Gratitude (Argonauta 2023)

Gothenburg doom folk band Ockra release their debut album, Gratitude.

Ockra formed in Sweden in 2018 and is comprised of members of the stoner doom band Sulphur Dreams. The three wanted to stretch out a bit and explore related musical realms. The music they create floats between heavy and quiet, stoner and folk, pop and perhaps soft jazz. It is an interesting and uncommon combination. The band is Jonas Nyström (drums, percussion, mellotron), Erik Björnlinger (guitar), and Alex Spielhaupter (vocals, bass, mellotron).

“Introspection” is a song that is perfectly titled, and a nice way to ease into the seven-track set. It is short, quiet, and has a steady build toward “Weightless Again.” This guitar-driven song does indeed have a nostalgic tone to it in the rock beginning. The passage that enters next conjures a drifting sense of solitude and peacefulness. The quiet vocals are reassuring, but not because of what they are saying so much as for the way the singing feels in your ears. Toward the end, the framing returns to its initial state, making a big exit. “Tree I Planted” comes next, rolling in on a welcoming bass line. This one leans more in the folk direction, picking up toward the end. “Acceptance” is the heaviest so far, opening with a stern guitar riff and a serious, if not menacing, stance. The early lead guitar break is a sign of things to come. There is a mild-mannered moment but the song finishes heavy and it is a fine way to end side one.

The back triplet begins with “We, Who Didn’t Know,” an extremely quiet piece for half its duration, sounding then like music being played in a distant meadow. The second half is electric and resounding, filled with a depth of production. “Imorgon Här” is a lament, in my ears at least, told at a slow pace and with some trepidation. The final song is “Tage Wie Dieser,” set up in the by-now-familiar format of quiet and slow leading to more active, aggressive music. While there is some structural similarity to these songs, they do not really sound that much alike. Each has its own being, intent, and narrative. If you are in a reflective mood, this album will be most welcome. Recommended.

Gratitude is out on Friday, May 26th through Argonauta Records. You can get more information at the links below.


Bandcamp, https://ockra.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/ockraband/

Argonauta Records, https://www.argonautarecords.com/

© Wayne Edwards

Ockra, Gratitude (Argonauta 2023)