Sunday, 4 March 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #85 - Hanne Hukkelberg, "Featherbrain"

Carrying on my idea of the pop impulse, this album (from the first two tracks at least) is not pop - but a resemblent cousin, rock with last minute plans. Still heavy with preconception and pre-meditation. "Featherbrain" seems a mistaken name.

The title track begins with tinkles and taps. An opposition of "old habits" and "new dreams" inside her "twisted soul". There is rattling and a persistent chord progression on a rasping acoustic guitar. It's an uncomfortable tune over which Hanne is taking herself to task. "Noah" has a corrupted mix with the piano cutting out in different ears. Then there are soaring vocals, running in and out of each other until you hear the breath run out in her voice. "I Sing You" has strings scraped and distant harpsichord and a scent of Kate Bush running with the hounds. "The Bigger Me" ends on a whistling kettle.

"The Time and I and What We Make" is epic, bigly epic. I wonder to myself whether it's a sex song. It has that sky-touching feel about it. This is what it sounds like when Norwegians cry. "You Gonna" has a Tom Waits junkyard lurch - "It's about finding your place/But don't get too comfortable." "Erik" sounds as though it could sung by her Dad, perhaps a guy called Erik, perhaps I don't need to worry about that. Either way, it's in Norwegian and sounds wise and sad and ends with whistling. Maybe that's what it sounds like when Norwegians cry.

I read that parts of this were recorded in a chapel. It has the creak of an intimate wooden place, of walking up an old staircase in the middle of the night. Maybe the right place to tackle all her devils.

Rating: Singing The Devils out of  Herself

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