This record sounds like a long lost classic, the sort of record you might wish you could come across crate digging in a second hand record store in a remote town in the Norwegian countryside. The production perfectly channels that ’70s AM radio pop hit sound and just flavors the melodies to the point that the songs sound so familiar, like they really are already hits in your memory. If this record wasn’t a new pressing or was filled with a lot more surface noise, you’d swear it was a vintage release instead of a modern, recent recording finally making its way to release now.While not a household name outside of Norway, Jørn Åleskjær has been writing and performing music for nearly 20 years. He’s released four studio albums with the indie pop band The Loch Ness Mouse, with two of those albums being nominated for “Pop Album of the Year” (the music critics’ award, the Alarm Prize) in Norway. In addition, Jørn has written songs for other artists including Brooklyn-based The Ladybug Transistor and Oslo’s I Was a King. Jørn is a prolific songwriter and many of his home-recorded songs were passed around the Norwegian scene from musician to musician on cd-r. The local label Oslo Grammofon even did some limited edition pressings of his cd-r releases. Now, Jørn Åleskjær finally debuts as a solo artist with the proper full-length release of I’m So Glad I Spend This Day With You.
The musical scope stretches from Todd Rundgren-like pop-soul to Beach Boys ‘70s harmony escapades, but at the center of the album are Jørn Åleskjær’s raw and emotional, often Dennis Wilson-esque songs and performance, and the intention has been to capture this natural flow and rawness also in the studio.
There’s a restrained sense of schmaltzy jazzy Wurlitzer, some tastefully sprinkled wah wah guitar effects, swells of string accompaniments, just the right amount of retro synth melodies to shade and flavor the sound right back to 1977 or so, even a bit of outlaw country singer gospel crossover on “To Damascus” and “Almost Gospel.”
A number of long time collaborators help out on this album release: Ex-Loch Ness Mouse member Emil Nikolaisen (Serena Maneesh) plays drums, bass, and guitar and also mixed one of the song’s. Emil’s sister Elvira, a Norwegian pop star in her own right, duets with Jørn on the title track which hearkens back to some of those classic ‘70s soft rock duet hits. Another ex-Loch Ness’er, Havard Krogedal (I Was A King, Serena Maneesh, Mirror Lakes) is responsible for most bass tracks and
the album is produced by Jørn’s brother Ole Johannes. Longtime friend of the brothers, Gary Olson (The Ladybug Transistor), also sings on “About To Go” and plays trumpet on several more tracks.
If you’re following the Sounds Familyre release schedule, you’ll notice that this album jumps back a few numbers. The lacquers were cut in early 2013 and through various issues with artwork and production, the album is finally seeing its release just before 2014 closes out. We’re happy that it’s finally here! Give the album a few plays and the melodies will be stuck in your head. Truly modern retro hits offered for new listeners to discover.
1. Straws In The Wind
2. I’m So Glad I Spent This Day With You
3. On The Run
4. I See How The Wind
5. About To Go
6. Don’t Give Up
7. You Can Make The Summer Come Alive
8. Breakfast On An Airplane
9. To Damascus
10. Almost Gospel
11. Ocean View