A strong collection of songs to introduce The Other End to the wider world.
The Other End comprises Alexander Breidvik and Ida Knoph-Solholm who take turns playing guitar, bass, piano and a homemade drum. Based in Bergen on Norway’s West coast, the duo describe their style as “americana/indie/folk. ‘The Sun Will Do You Good They Said’ is their debut full-length album, the title taken from the song ‘Oh Lord’ referencing the ability of our nearest star to lift the dark mood of SAD. It follows their self-titled and self-released 5 track 10” EP in 2018. The Other End made some impact at SXSW – they made NPR’s Austin 100 in 2019. For the album the core duo is supported by Olaf Olsen (drums), Chris Holm (bass) and Morten Qvenilo (keyboards) as well as trombonist Erik Johannessen and the Oslo Strings. Producer Cato Salsa also contributes keyboards and electric guitar throughout.
The opening track, ‘California Dreamer’ starts with a folkie acoustic guitar run before Knoph-Soholm’s voice sings of a victim of heartbreak dreaming of an idyllic life in California while lamenting “I wish I had savings for running away”. The strings that join the tune halfway through complement the wistfulness. ‘Love Song’ is punctuated with blasts of the full band with guitar prominent as the vocal toys with thoughts of past love against a backdrop of the changing seasons. The sound has the atmospheric iciness that is characteristic of many Scandinavian recordings.
‘Gas Light’ is based in Covid times: “the world is in lockdown right now” and contrasts a rock backing with a lyric focused on loss and loneliness. The next song, ‘Legacy’ has an acoustic intro with a hint of the Stones’ slow Americana numbers but develops into a pretty glorious multi-layered blend of band, strings and harmonies that belies the contemplative lyric. ‘Late Night Calling’ sounds like its title with a claustrophobic repeated accompaniment fanning the intensity of the lyric building into a final cacophonous crescendo before slipping away.
The first track on side two – ‘Do We Really Need Another Song About Heartbreak’ is as close as the record gets to a straight-ahead country song with a sweet twangy intro. After the preceding five songs, this one raises a smile. ‘Oh Lord’ has a playful slightly jaunty tune over which Knoph-Solholm delivers an increasingly dark lyric. All the instruments on this track are played by Breidvik and Salsa. The record goes even darker with ‘I Disappear’ – “My God I’m soon to be embraced by the sea” where the singer dreams of death as a release from worldly pain underlain with a jazzy piano-led backing supplemented with strings. Next up we get ‘Silent Poem Infinite Friend’, a song very much in the North European folk pop tradition with a more upbeat lyric, before The Other End go back to the country – torch rather than twang this time – with ‘I May Have Lost You Too’.
The album’s final track, ‘The Boy’, reverts to the core band and more of an indie-rock flavour and builds through a combination of repeated chorus and increasing volume into a climactic end to the record. ‘The Sun Will Do You Good They Said’ is a debut album that has been a few years taking shape and is a strong collection of songs to introduce their range to the wider world.