Go Danish Folk
Review by Chris Nickson
"Flo Og Fjære"
Start up the opening track of Himla’s self-titled debut, and for a moment the voice and guitar on “Flo Og Fjære” transport you right back to those days of the ‘70s singer-songwriters – the haunted female voice and resonant guitar arpeggios. Listen just a little longer, though, and it’s apparent this isn’t merely nostalgia. A clarinet creeps into the song, nosing around the tune, then cello joins in, using a high register, more like viola or violin. The melody is quite bewitching – the equal of anything from five decades ago – with an edge of familiarity, but very quickly there are plenty of touches of the unusual in the arrangement. And with that’s it’s immediately clear that Adine Fliid and her two bandmates - Oda Dyrnes and Siri Iversen, have something rather special here.
"Fra Den Grønne Port" (excerpt)
While the instrumental choice might appear to be limited, the trio conjure up a broad range of moods. It’s helped in part by Fliid’s songs, which sometimes swoop in from oblique angles, like the strange turns of “Fra Den Grønne Port,” moving from the romantic to the odd in alluring fashion, and cradled and supported by the unlikely twists in the instrumental framework. Move ahead to “Uten Røtter,” and the clarinet and cello weave a dark, witchy web around the words, turning it into a spooky walk through a dark landscape.
"Hjertet Et Stengt" (excerpt)
Even on this debut, Fliid proves to be a sophisticated songwriter, for whom the idea of 1970s folk is merely a starting point towards much more individual expression, like “Hjertet Et Stengt,” which veers close to modern classical.
Himla break all the molds, and that’s no bad thing. They’re not really folk, definitely not pop, and yet there’s some ineffable something – wistfulness? romance? - that could draw in a very wide range of listeners This mix of Danish and Norwegian talent works superbly, with great musicianship and even more imagination. Yes, very definitely something special.