Mixing melancholy and introspection with uplifting and inspiriting songs.
There seem to be good things happening musically in Norway, this being one of many Americana and folk nuanced records to come my way from the fjords. Louien takes some of the downbeat elements of the anti-folk movement, deconstructs them and puts them back together as something fully formed and celebratory. Even a song about loss, ‘No Tomorrow’, seems to find something almost positive in the ‘abandoned home, where she was left alone.’
From the soft acoustic opening of ‘Deep Within’ Louien’s crystal clear vocals invite the listener into a personal interior world, swelled by uplifting backing vocals that expand in an almost orchestral way to the acoustic palette of drums, guitars and pedal steel. This template is built upon in the next track ‘Better Woman’, swelled still further with strings but all kept together by an insistently strummed acoustic rhythm guitar.
Single ‘Fire’ initially seems brittle and fragile before coalescing into something more solid as a chorus that lays a tapestry of melody across the fragments of the verse to bring together a song that seems about to fall apart like a gossamer thread.
The EP closes with possibly the most traditional ‘singer-songwriter’ folk track of the record: ‘Woke from the Dead’. None of the songs could honestly be described as happy, and all are touched by melancholy, but the overall effect is to lift the emotions. Honest, direct and inspiriting.