- David Bentley
Sol Heilo – May is the Month (single from forthcoming album)
Just when you’ve learned no longer to expect the unexpected up pops Sol Heilo, after quite a long time out of circulation (and while on maternity leave) with a new single – only the second if I remember correctly since her 2017 debut album ‘Skinhorse Playground’ – and the suggestion that it’s from a new album too.
For those who don’t know who Sol Heilo is (though the majority of NMR readers will be very aware of her) she’s the blonde bombshell bit of Katzenjammer, who are still on hiatus for over four years now and looking as if they’ll stay that way.
Sol has been the most active of the four members, releasing the album and later an acoustic EP version with most of the songs on it. However, Marianne Sveen, whose departure led to the hiatus and Anne Marit Bergheim both have albums in the pipeline, eventually. Only Turid Jorgensen appears to be inactive now. Sol meanwhile has become a film musical director, working mainly in animation.
Heilo can play 17 instruments, having started as a drummer, but tends to focus on the acoustic guitar these days and that is the case here. She established her own sound on ‘Skinhorse Playground’ and appears to be sticking with it. There are lots of gerunds – waking/breaking; weeping/sleeping etc a she did in ‘When my country died’ and the structure of the song owes much to ‘London is Trouble’, both from the debut album.
For all the excellent songs on ‘Skinhorse Playground’ – criminally not a single one got a second’s airplay in the UK to the best of my knowledge - I reckon she’s equalled the lot of them with this one, with the possible exception of ‘Walk a little further’, which is a masterpiece.
Interestingly, this isn’t a completely new song. Heilo wrote much of her solo material to date while on the road with Katzenjammer over a period of 12 years. This one has a Facebook version as a live ‘Kitchen Rehearsal Session’ with Hanne Marie Karlsen (who is in Heilo’s band) and Unni Wilhelmsen (who is in another band, with both of them). Presumably it is they who are doing the harmonies although she can do them herself, having recorded her own gospel choir on ‘Killing Karma’ a song on the debut album.
May is the Month was released today, 22 May.
Find her on Facebook or Instagram.