Ardor is the second opus after Night Blooms (released in 2009 , once again full of prestigious guests such as singers Rhys Marsh, Tim Bowness (No-Man , Henry Fool), Alexander Stenerud and Venke Knutson, a very famous pop artist in Norway as well as the companions from White Willow Mattias Olsson (drums), Ellen Andrea Wang (bass), Lars Fredrik Frøislie (keyboards) and Ketil Einarsen Vestrum (flute).
Being the main songwriter Holm - Lupo, the stylistic imprint of his reference group is undeniably present, but everything has fallen into a more ethereal and refined. Although the songs are stripped from the aura of pretentiousness, those of Ardor remain in a certain sense related to aesthetics progressive rock. Throughout the album the instrumental breaks are rich and many thanks to the massive presence of keyboards and synths and more is always that feeling of a romantic symphonic music to act as a subtext, while the other side is using battery power, both drum machine.
The culmination of this hybrid project is found at the end of the album in the 11 minute long "Mariner, Come In" by guest on keyboards and singing the other half of Henry Fool, Stephen Bennett, and Harald Lassen puts his seal to the track left with a sax solo final. Another great example would be "The Waiting Groung " sublimation of progressive pop that combines acoustic sounds to synth interludes punctuated by replicating the mellotron romantic Genesis and King Crimson.
That is a reinterpretation of Ardor, through modern equipment, styles of art- pop AOR and '80s. Perhaps there is a bit ' of Asia in the single "When We Dream" (especially in the final crescendo) and listening to "White Wolf" is impossible not to come to mind Paul Buchanan sings the beautiful unreleased track by Blue Nile, feeling that is replicated on "Northern Rains". On Ardor is no space for another cover if it had fallen to about Night Blooms "By This River" by Brian Eno, here Holm - Lupo dusts never concealed his love for Blue Öyster Cult with "Then Came the Last Days of May" which takes the form of a ballad played in a masterly way by Knutson. To this must be added the Nordic melancholy acoustic and twilight "Instead Silence" sung by Bowness, and "Revenant" that look very much like White Willow more pastoral.
These days, among the many revivals that seek to replicate musically or get inspired by one of the most vacuous decades of rock history, that of Holm - Lupo is definitely one of the most original and unconventional, and not the approach taken for granted. It is clear that if you're a fan of No-Man, Talk Talk and The Blue Nile purchase is more than recommended.