Frøkedal & Familien (Norway) – SØN (single from forthcoming album)
Anne Lise Frøkedal has become a family business, adding the ‘Familien’ that is her band to her trading name, apparently on account of the ‘collective nature’ of their latest recordings. Unfortunately I see that Thea Glenton Raknes, (Thea and the Wild) is no longer one of them, but they are all excellent musicians all the same. And she’s changed labels, too, from Propeller to Fysisk Format. It’s all happening in Oslo.
This is the first single, ‘SØN’ from her third album, ‘Flora’, which is scheduled for release on 14th May.
She’s released two previous albums, in 2016 and 2018. The first one, ‘Hold on Dreamer’, was a fairly minimalist acoustic one, almost a shy affair. Well it definitely was in contrast to the second one, ‘How we made it’. Inspired as it was by Frøkedal's more “immature" personal traits as she describes them, the very first song, a break-up ditty called ‘I don’t care’ (it could be Millwall fans’ new anthem I suppose), included the somewhat perturbing line “Do you worry any minute I might become the c*** that you say I am?”, as if she was challenging the world to be shocked by someone who, if you chat to her, comes across as a woman in whose mouth butter wouldn’t melt.
After that rude interruption the album contained a diverse range of tracks including one, ‘Treehouse’, which was more like a fairy story in the Aurora mould. And throughout it she developed her little knack of writing wonderfully melodic songs while ensuring the tune never diverts you from the lyrics.
Frøkedal is endlessly compared with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Nico and Marianne Faithfull, but she really has moved on from that now, clearly establishing her own identity and inviting comparisons with her rather than the other way around.
So what are we to expect from this album? On the strength of this first track more of the same. Rich guitar (her trademark gold Telecaster I’m assuming is still in play), acoustic instrumentation from the Familien, pleasant harmonies and an all-round feel-good vibe, while still retaining that lyrical cutting edge. ‘The coolest woman in Norway’ as the Norwegian Ambassador here once called her, won’t be surrendering her crown any time soon.