Elva - Winter Sun - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Elva - Winter Sun

by Bill Golembeski Rating:8 Release Date:2019-04-19
Elva - Winter Sun
Elva - Winter Sun

This is joyous folky pop music.

And Elva—Elizabeth Morris and Ola Innset—sing melodic tunes with great harmonies, all the way from Moss, Norway. Of course, they also sing those melodic harmonious songs all the way from about 1972, a time when this sort of beautiful music was all the rage. It’s hard to believe, but folky pop songs ruled the radio waves with hit singles(!) from the likes of Brewer and Shipley, America, CS&N, James Taylor, Carol King, and Gordon Lightfoot, all of whom proved that a great talent with an honest and catchy tune could bring big radio advertising windfalls.

Ah, those were the days when all eight minutes of Don Mclean’s “American Pie” could hold the fickle attention of rock n’ roll radio listening ears.

This is Persephone’s echoed song that still lingers even today—simply because it’s such a lovely sound. And it also reverberates with the sound of countless bands that sang folk music that hardly touched the traditional songs found in the Cecil Sharp House, bands such as Trader Horne, Magna Carta, Mr. Fox, and Tudor Lodge.   

And yeah, fans of Belle and Sebastian will like this music, too.

Now, as stated, this is a Norwegian band, but they have a British/American sound.

An acoustic guitar lets the light begin, and then Elizabeth’s pure vocals plead with the innocence snapped in a distant photograph of a long-ago happy moment. The percussion (that is, perhaps, too precise) propels the tune, while the guitar drips a quick melody to frame the happy memory.

That’s sort of the template here.

There is a brisk tailwind to these songs. In fact, that’s the title of the second tune. And to be fair, that song, “Tailwind,” gets a little guitar feedback that simply blots the melody into Rorschach musical depth. That’s important because this album, although melodic, has deep roots into the bottom of a lovely dark Norwegian lake. “Dreaming with Our Feet” is, again, upbeat and insistent in its folk intent. This is a happy (and almost hippy) rural retreat music that begs us all to “Turn off the TV and put down your phone.” And Ola sings the quick “Ghostwriter.” This music resurrects the very Easter idea of a great melody, which is then sliced with a tough guitar. It echoes the sound of Al Stewart, he of sublime singer-songwriter tunes.

And then “Harbour in the Storm” is acoustic quiet with Elizabeth’s voice framed by a simple guitar. This is yet another warm photographic image sung in song.  The same is true for “Don’t Be Afraid,” with its pleading vocals and languid guitar. “I Need Love” is more of that sad beauty. There is a distant glimpse of something beautiful, something far beyond the casual greeting card that just says, every time, Thinking of you.

“Airport Town,” with Ola on vocals, rocks and has a big jangly guitar sound. But then Ola can shift gears and deliver the (almost) country purity of “Everything Is Strange.” This song is gentle specific, with a forlorn violin that cries its sadness.

The title song, “Winter Sun,” spins its melody through the universe and is a wonder like a Hubble space cluster photograph. The universe is big; it’s oddly warm, and it really quite beautiful. And this song is all of the above, with a quiet and beautiful Arthur Murry Loch Lohman dance step. This song engulfs ancient mists from a place where melodies were deep currency and songs warmed the heart against cold, and very dark nights.

You know, my friend, Kilda Defnut, thinks ghosts sing pop songs. And we all like to sing those favorite songs, too. And that may be the gist of any good album. They sing; we sing, and then we all somehow sing and meet in the middle. There’s deep water melody in this music. And there are pop harmonies; there’s acoustic simplicity; and there’s a clever pulse from a time long ago, a pulse with rural purity, and a pulse that plays with soft patience, a patience always found, while singing a lovely melody with eyes closed, under the night sky to an audience of at least a billion stars.  

This album does something like that.

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