I don’t suppose many of us have a great amount of Norwegian rock music in our collections - maybe A-Ha or Kings of Convenience ? Well, I’m pleased therefore to introduce you to Torgeir Waldemar who is to release his second album called 'No Offending Borders' on 17th March.
The eponymous debut album dropped in 2014, and was labeled an acoustic masterpiece on it’s release, however the press release promises a more diverse sound on the follow up.
This doesn’t seem quite true when track one starts - a gorgeous acoustic little number with added harmonica called 'Falling Rain' (Link Wray), and thoughts turn to a Norwegian Bob Dylan.
Track two however, is where the first surprise hits, the eight minute rocker called 'Summer in Toulouse', channelling Neil Young with it’s crunching guitars and pounding rhythm section. This is the definition of exhilarating, and the song is up there with one of my tracks of the year so far.
Waldemar states that "the album exists as a statement of the seriousness we meet in our everyday lives, from relationships breaking down to the global refugee crisis, and all points in between", so it’s fair to expect this to be a solemn album, but despite the subject matter, this is a deeply musical and dynamic album, beautifully produced and highly resonant.
'Island Bliss' and 'Souls On A String' are further delicate, acoustic folk songs that sit comfortably between the rock and roll, and just add to the albums appeal.
Album highlight is 'Sylvia (Southern People)', in which Waldemar again leans on classic Neil Young for style and rhythm, but who cares when this is the result. Stunning track.
Vocally, Waldemar is reminiscent of Father John Misty, his electric guitar playing is Neil Young like, and there are moments of Bob Dylan on his quieter acoustic moments, yet the sound is all his own. I’ve played this album (loud) indoors, on headphones, and whilst driving, and it seems to fit all occasions, it’s that good.
I hope this proves to be a breakout album for Waldemar, and he becomes recognised beyond his native Norway because this is a serious talent that deserves the kind of audience the aforementioned artists get.