A shot of pure and elegantly executed Americana marks this Norwegian duo as ones to watch.
In recent years, Norway has seen a boom in its entertainment exports with its television and film in high demand internationally, but its music is garnering increasing attention too – more specifically, its Americana, folk and country-inspired “Nordicana”. It’s in that niche that we meet Fayen, a Norwegian duo composed of Anne-Grethe Nyhaug and Gøran Bogstrand, both of whom grew up in rural environments, maintaining a strong love for a sound that matched their upbringing, even though it came from beyond the Norwegian Sea and across the Atlantic.
The band’s US influences are obvious from the get go with gentle harmonies against sparkling guitar and soothing strings on ‘Meander Love’. Nyhaug’s voice is beautiful, with a dreamy quality akin to Emmylou Harris, as she sings of a simple love that need not use words to be expressed (“There’s that little something / He brings to our bed / How can it be golden / When nothing is said”). “A good ending is well within your distance / Losing love isn’t lost life / Find someone to hold your hand / And you can live not just get by,” Nyhaug sings sweetly, comforting someone who can’t see light at the end of the tunnel on ‘A Good Ending’.
‘Dark Horse’ is a reminder that sometimes it can be the unexpected who prosper (“A saw a stranger / Sitting by the tracks / He took his apple and his oil / He saw a people / With broken backs / Leaning on a fairytale / Working hard to get somewhere”), while ‘Hummingbird’ is a soft, string heavy acoustic meditation on the transient nature of life and the choices we make (“A sentence never said / Or the words of which we never had”). The final track is ‘Woe Be’, a lush, harmony-rich parable that sees Nyhaug warn in the most honeyed tones to practice what you preach (“Woe be / The one / Who’ll teach a moral from above”).
The EP is imbued with a fresh, throwback kind of innocence, something that’s harder to find among Fayen’s often more hardened American contemporaries, and it’s a joy to hear. It may be TV and movies that are making Norway in demand at the moment, but with sounds on offer like this, it should be the country’s Nordicana scene that’s next in line to be most culturally sought after.