Review by Warren Mayocchi
Few will understand the Norwegian lyrics but the rest of us can appreciate the sublime music. In her latest album Kari Rueslåtten sings to us in Norwegian of the “lonely hours at night when every thought is looming, and one loses the battle against reality.” Appropriate to the theme the music has an intimate beauty well suited to a folk-pop genre. The majority of the instrumentation is acoustic which accentuates the folk feel to the album. The drumming and guitar work persist the folkish backing apart from “Svever”, which tends toward pop, and the concluding song, “Storefjell”, where atmospheric keyboards are prominent.
In keeping with the delicate nature of the music the album title is the Norwegian name for a butterfly called Mourning Cloak. It is easy to imagine the slow open-close of butterfly wings and drifting flight of a butterfly through a garden while darkness falls as an imagined accompaniment to songs on this album. The Sørgekåpe butterfly does make an appearance as an ink drawing in the video clip for the title track “Sørgekåpe”.
It is a song which sounds like intrigue and definitely a good introduction to the album. While there may be sorrow in the lyrical content in keeping with a time of mourning, and the name of the butterfly, it is not obvious in listening to the songs. I have heard a number of Kari Rueslåtten‘s albums and it can always be said the musicianship is distinctive and excellent, “Sørgekåpe” is no exception – when the integration and balance between magnificent voice and beautiful instrumentation is achieved the songs are masterpieces.
That combination has been well realised across this new album and it will without a doubt be a career highlight with unreserved praise from most if not all. Should you never had the pleasure of a Kari Rueslåtten album, this is a good place to start – Blackmore’s Night are a reasonable point of reference, but the album is a true masterwork from a legendary artist.
Rating – 93/100
- Månen lyser ned
- Når mørket faller
- Alt brenner nå
- Øye for øye
- Kari Rueslåtten: Vocal, piano
- Jostein Ansnes: Guitar, backing vocals
- Gjermund Silset: Bass
- Stian Lundberg: Drums
- Frode Flemsæter: Keyboards