It was only a few weeks ago that we featured all-girl band Katzenjammer in a ‘Down Memory Lane’ story and I was speculating then about future output from at least two of the girls. I know that Sol Heilo is working on a second solo album and one track from it has already been released, but this one took me by surprise, coming as it did with only 24 hours warning.
Writing credits for ‘All the Lost People’ actually go to her brother, probably Kristan though it could be Øyvind, while she modestly claims to have “added a verse and made the arrangement and recording”, and bro’s voice can be heard in it.
“Let yourself be swathed in autumn leaves” she says on her Facebook page. Having just slipped and nearly broken my ankle on them I’ll pass on that one Sol, but there is a ‘swathing’ feeling to the song.
I don’t have access to lyrics unfortunately so have to rely on my failing hearing and I don’t know what it is about but it does seem to concern those vague wandering souls who turned up on various tracks on her ‘Skinhorse Playground’ album and notably on ‘When my Country died’, (“I wake, I wake from my sleeping/And I must have slept for many years/'cause all around me is weeping/And gone are all happy cheers”); ‘The Dream Escapers’ (“Praise the ones out on their own, the dream escapers/Their grit and their steel, forever daring at the wheel”); and ‘Walk a little further’ (“people lost in disrepair/a universal sadness growing).”
It isn’t common to refer to Sol as dark or ethereal but she can be, and of course Katzenjammer were too at times.
It may be a political song but there’s also a line, “All the lost people searching for their Lord” (?).
Musically, it is unusual in that there are Sol trademarks in there such as the picked acoustic guitar and banjo but also a powerful organ-led (I think it is an organ, rather than a synthesiser) mid-section. My only complaint about it is that it is too short; it could easily have gone to another verse and a second musical climax.
This might be only partially a Sol Heilo song but on the strength of it I’m rather hoping there might be another one or two joint efforts with bro on the album.
Incidentally, as ever she did the artwork for the song. If you’re wondering, Ute nå is Norwegian for ‘without’, which doesn’t help me any more with the song’s meaning!