We’ll be featuring 2 artists / bands today that rely on the bare minimum of instrumentation when songwriting, the opposite of yesterdays featured band 'The Hallway' who I think use kitchen utensils found lying around the recording studio to add to their cacophony of noise – and very effectively too, may I add. So the first of these is GIRL, a duo from Norway comprising of Christian Winther and Ina Sagstuen, who write stripped back songs predominantly based around acoustic guitar and voices, where all is equal – as if they are in perfect equilibrium with the earth and all around them.
The first thing you will probably notice about GIRL is that they do simply sound slightly different, but please do not adjust your remote controls, swipe your phones to the left or skip to the next track on your playlist, you’ll just need a few moments to adjust, relax and take stock of what has been created here, which is quite beautiful. Their album, ‘Sea and Dirt’, released this Friday is a masterpiece of natural simplicity, and their music will really get under your skin, if you’re willing to give it a chance.
Highlights from the album include pre-release single ‘Sea and Dirt’, with a lovely and slightly lilting melody sung by Christian Winther. ‘Earthly Habit’ has also been released, and subtly uses other instruments and musicians, but each is used so sparingly and a feature of the album is that they are used only when they really add something to each respective track. The duo also wanted to maintain a fluid feel to the album, with musicians working with a degree of improvisation, and I think that adds to the natural feeling of the music. I really like the tone and feel of ‘Stop Making Sense’, with another simple understated tune, and the lyrics are well defined and thought through. And my favourite track is saved until last, ‘She’ has a clever acoustic guitar opening, whilst the melody has a jaunty and an addictive hook to it.
This is delicate, soft, mellifluous music which I think will be loved by many, but accepting that some will never quite manage to adjust their listening ears to such stripped back music. The changing tempos and rhythms in tracks such as ‘Wedding’ are not necessarily ‘easy listening’ at first listen, but start with ‘Sea and Dirt’, ‘Earthly Habit’ and move on from there. GIRL have made a real impression with their debut album, not just because of their music, but because of their wonderful approach to songwriting. Please give it a try.
GIRLs debut album "Sea And Dirt" is released on Vilje Recordings Friday the 17th of June.