When presented with Dig Deeper’s album, In Central European Time, I was fully unsure of what to expect. I knew the band was a four-piece from Norway playing music that can be described as psychedelic in sound – that was it. From my experience of psychedelia, I expected something with a repetitive instrumental and very little in the way of lyrical substance. I was only half correct in my assumption of their album.
Dig Deeper’s songs tend to have a storytelling approach and often talk about people trying to survive in this world on a personal level. In Central European Time continues to use their themes of escapism, soul searching, loss and freedom, but with a specific focus. This album is Dig Deeper’s criticism of the Norwegian government’s restrictive policies with regards to immigration. By adopting the perspective of a refugee and telling their story, they highlight the struggles faced by these desperate individuals.
‘How Can I Be Certain’ and ‘Stars Tonight’ indicate the pure hopelessness of a refugee as they start the journey as an immigrant. ‘Stars Tonight’ was an interesting track as the dejection of refugees is illustrated by an inability to see stars in the night sky. The thing is, it is not because they lack the physical ability to see stars rather that the sky has turned brown from the national acts towards immigrants. The tale continues in ‘Don’t Ask Too Much’ with a depiction of the immigrant’s fearful existence. An acknowledgement of the fear of the police and the need for lies as a form of protection. For many, unfortunately, the dreams of a new life are dashed, and this is described in ‘Hey!’.
‘The Ticket’ tells about the day when the life of a refugee is changed forever. The day they climb on the bus, forget the life being left behind and begin a new one. Strangely enough, the description of the new country was as winter coming in. How is this in any way significant? Well, vocalist Einar Kaupang sings that the immigrant will not be getting off the bus until spring comes around again.
Personally, I felt the closer ‘Sky Brown Sky’ was unnecessary, but it did bring with it some interesting features relating to the content of the album. Being mostly an instrumental piece, it uses guitars and drums to take the listener on the refugee’s hostile journey. The intriguing part of this track was the use of raga rock influences which, I assume, represents the immigrant’s role and how it becomes more prominent as the track progresses.
In my opinion, In Central European Time is an insightful album that requires you to dig deeper when listening to it. I particularly enjoy the fact that the Kaupang uses a first-party narrative for all tracks making you “feel” the song. The looping electric guitar and rhythmic backing makes this album ideal as a soundtrack to some 1960s film, but it is the powerful lyrics that remind me of the admirable ethos of the American hippie generation. In today’s antagonistic society, more Dig Deeper may be just what we need.