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  • David Bentley

Marianne Sveen – Look Away (single from forthcoming album Next of Kin)

Like the first one, Sol Heilo, whose new single was reviewed recently in NMR, she is a multi-instrumentalist (they all are) and it is conceivable that she played all the instruments on this song.

And, as with her ex-colleague, there is clear blue sky between her work in the band and this solo material.

I interviewed Marianne in Oslo last August and we discussed her new album, which has taken some time to put together owing to family circumstances and which will be released in October. She talked about the various influences on it and in it, both internal and external. She has worked as a mental health nurse (and I believe she took that up again after leaving Katzenjammer) and visited a refugee camp in Iraq. She has a particular thing about bullying, too. So, plenty of material for songs.

However, she describes ‘Next of Kin’ now as “a collection of songs about different relations, good and bad,” and ‘Look Away’ “is a song about staying too long in a relation that has a certain expectation to it. Sometimes, we tend to keep people in our lives, even though they might not do us good. It takes courage to move on from something that’s beyond repair. And to realise you’re on a setting sun.”

It would be easy to relate that statement to her role in Katzenjammer as some – including me – did with songs on Sol Heilo’s album, rightly or wrongly, but I don’t think it would be accurate.

Her style isn’t too dissimilar to that of Sol Heilo, involving acoustic guitar, strings and synths although her vocals are slightly softer. The only criticism I would have is that the lyrics aren’t entirely clear, at least not to me, for example the first line was indecipherable, but I did pick most of them up second or third time around.

It’s a slow burner which builds up and evolves to the status of a power ballad in the last minute. The chorus reminds me ever so slightly of the theme tune to TV series ‘Cardinal’ which is Agnes Obel’s ‘Familiar’.

Marianne played one of the songs off the album to me during that interview session last year. This wasn’t it but I recall a highly attractive piano ballad. Put together with the enticing ‘Look Away’ it augurs very well indeed for her debut album.

‘Look Away’ was added to New Music Friday on Spotify on 12th June.

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