Ida Wenøe (Denmark) – ‘Echoes’ (single)
“It’s a game of two halves, Gary”. How many times have we heard that nonsense on Match of the Day? And I was surprised to find this new single, from her forthcoming third album, from the sophisticated, laconic Danish chanteuse Ida Wenøe referred to in a similar manner, as a ‘song of two halves’.
But as it happens that isn’t too far from the truth. The first half has been described as ‘Nordic Noir’ and I get that. Indeed it reminds me a little of Ida’s countrywoman Agnes Obel and her sinister ‘Familiar’ which was used as the theme to the German sci-fi thriller ‘Dark’ and before that to the gory, multiple body count Canadian cop drama ‘Cardinal’.
Then as the second half kicks off she’s playing with the wind at her back and reverts to something more like her traditional 4-4-2 formation with a more up-tempo folk take on the song, laced with a smattering of Americana.
It’s really Ida Wenøe’s voice which is the key to her swift elevation from cafe waitress to in-demand artist. It is silky smooth and beguiling, sucking you in like a toothless granny tackling a hard-boiled egg.
Lyrically, the song is notable for having arisen out of a self-confessed period of ‘creative block’ in the early part of lockdown; something that few other artists to my knowledge have admitted to. She speaks of calling on “The vague sound of memories, and voices borrowed” for inspiration but if this is the result then lockdowns can’t have been all bad.
There is a fascinating video to go with the song which unfortunately we can’t show you because it is embargoed until 28th May but I’d recommend you view it when you have the opportunity. It’s just her, in front of a lace curtain, singing the song, the first part in black and white and the second half in colour; nothing more than that.
But her face is so expressive and her eyes will laser into yours almost with the power of those of Sharbat Gula, the ‘Afghan Girl’, for those who remember that seminal 1985 National Geographic photograph of the green-eyed adolescent war child. It’s very seductive.
The female singer-songwriter talent oozing out of Denmark right now in the form of Ida, Gurli Octavia, Lydmor and others is seemingly unstoppable.