- David Bentley
CECI NOIR: Out of Borlänge (single)
A first-time visitor to NMR, CECI NOIR (Cecilia Norberg and Niklas Ellvin) actually are out of Borlänge, a pleasant mid-sized town in central Sweden that I once drove through en route the amazing Dalhalla open-air amphitheatre at Rättvik, built into a huge disused quarry, but more of that another time.
I’ve come across them before, describing Cecilia as ”a full-blooded rock singer that makes a lasting impression – it’s her voice that really catches your attention. Definitely one to watch!"
She’s a singer, songwriter and producer from the heavily wooded and lake-strewn area of Dalarna, a county and historical province, but having written songs since an early age she waited for over ten years to allow her work to see the light of day. Last year the duo toured Sweden, picking up many plaudits for their live performances and released a debut album ‘Circumstances’, from which this track is now released as a single.
But she means ‘Out of Borlänge’ in a different way, as a statement like, she says, ”Straight outta Compton”, (which all NMR readers will of course know is a gangsta rap film). That made me a little wary because Compton, on Los Angeles’ south side, a decaying, gang-infested suburb where a couple of cops were shot while they sat in their car last week, isn’t somewhere you’d care much to hang around in and probably has about as much in common with Borlänge as Oldham does with Stockholm.
It isn’t quite what it seems though as Ceci Noir assure us “it’s about the courage to stand for what you believe in, follow your heart, and live the life you wanna live. It’s also about getting rid of the fears that keep us chained inside the mental walls that sometimes hold us back. Thanks to the circumstances in life we can live, sing, and make music – about love, emotions, fears, freedom, and… our lives.”
I’m really glad to know that! I didn’t think Borlänge was that bad. Cecilia’s slightly gravelly voice is hard to place it but perhaps there’s a hint of Elkie Brooks in there? I’m sure I’ve “heard” Salford’s finest in her songs before.
She cooks up a melancholic and soulful sound every time she sings, always completely convincing in her delivery.
Musically, I thought we were getting a cover of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in the first few bars. The guitar backing comes from Niklas, who is Cecilia’s boyfriend, and who brings a touch of extra class. The break around the 2:20 mark is particularly attractive.