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Jordsjø: Jord

Although they perform as a quartet on stage, Norway’s Jordsjø are ostensibly a duo and although Jord is their fourth collection of songs, it is ostensibly their debut. Admittedly those first three ‘albums’ were independent, cassette only releases, hence it’s the duo’s pairing up with their first label, Karisma, which has facilitated this second beginning. Comprising Håkon Oftung on vocals, guitars, keyboards and flutes and Kristian Frøland on drums and percussion, the twosome are only joined by bassist Robert Dall Frøseth on track three, “Finske Skoger”. I’m pleased to say, however, that all of Jord still sounds remarkably like a full band at work and as ever in these situations, that fact proves a real bonus as gently imposing songwriting is put to good use through confident performances.

The suggestive flute and hand-shakers of “Over Vidda” makes for a short introduction to what proves to be an idiosyncratically Scandinavian sounding set of songs, a gentleness of touch brought to bear on what is still a strutting collection. �"nglegård are brought to mind at times as we traverse “Abstraksjoner Fra Et Dunkelt”; soft guitar lines playing off against an interesting rhythmical backing. For some the vocals may prove the weak spot in an otherwise tough outer skin, Oftung not quite as forthright as his music can be. The lyrics are also in his native tongue, although that is something which suits the music perfectly, and possibly takes the edge off the run of the mill impression the singing can suggest.

With flute constantly leading the way, the occasional Howe-like guitar outburst makes for an interesting diversion, while the keyboards are used more to create lush foundations than they are to embellish the constructions themselves. The aforementioned “Finske Skoger” adds a folky edge, before the twin punch of “Jord I” and (you’ve guessed it) “Jord II” readily take on the mantle of ‘main event’. There’s a ramping up of intensity here and also of a willingness to stretch boundaries a little more as the energy levels are increased and a more boisterous attitude is given to some of the solo slots.

“La Meg Forsvinne!” reveals a more symphonic side, the feel of ‘movements’ introduced as instruments and vocals shove to the front, before edging back again. Something which is shelved completely for the closing electro-synth work of “Postludium” which, while an interesting aside, does feel slightly out of place on what has been a largely instrumental, but still song based outing until here.

This fourth album debut from Jordsjø definitely has one or two elements that may need a little honing before we could truly consider bestowing greatness upon it. And yet, at the same time there’s still a huge amount of which to be impressed.

Track Listing
1. Over Vidda 01:48
2. Abstraksjoner Fra Et Dunkelt Kammer
3. Finske Skoger
4. Jord I
5. Jord II
6. La Meg Forsvinne!
7. Postludium

Added: July 18th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Jordsjø on bandcamp
Hits: 468
Language: english

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