Blue House Music – 7 April 2017
Having formerly fronted Danish trio Boho Dancer, Ida Wenøe now makes her solo debut with Time of Ghosts, an album that leans more towards their ethereal acid folk, blending Nordic and English folk influences on a primarily but not exclusively acoustic collection of songs about love, loss, loneliness, longing and leaving.
That sense of transience is evident in the opener, Changing Of Seasons, where she sings about being at “Copenhagen, central station, twenty minutes past some time. Among beggars, thieves and travellers, finally I’m alone”, catching the train home to assorted men who have taught her about love and life…it’s clearly intended to be taken metaphorically, the song rather suggesting someone recovering from depression. Etched out on the scraped steel strings of Anders Mathiasen’s classical guitar, he also provides backing vocals; it’s dreamy and sparse in a way that makes Bon Iver sound symphonic.
The mood is pervasive, although not always so minimalistic. What Is In The April Moon? opens on a pulsing note but opening up to embrace clanking percussion on a number that calls Kate Bush to mind, while the title track is an instrumentally layered and skittering affair featuring cornet and mandolin with a soaring chorus rush.
On Lyla, another track to feature classical guitar, on which Ida Wenøe harmonises with Katrine Stocholm over a circling melody, she reminds me slightly of a more faerie-like Carina Round in her seductive mode. Musing on themes of loneliness, the void and searching for something beyond, in keeping with her Nordic DNA there’s a glacial air to both the music and the imagery, as evidenced on both the piano accompanied slow waltzer How Cold The Winter and the aching memories of The New Surreal.
Piano resurfaces on Death Wish (Of Nicholas Urfe), a number about the character in John Fowles’ novel The Magus, a young poet who, in a moment of despair and self-doubt, contemplates suicide and which, the genesis of the album, she says chimed with her own ‘musical suicide’ in quitting the band to go solo.
Things get positively lush on the penultimate Let You Know, opening with a hummed vocal before, headed by cello, a melancholic string arrangement enfolds what would seem to be a song about a relationship on the verge of collapse (“now you kind of scare me with your arrows and arms”). It also namechecks Lou Reed and was guessingly written around the time of his death.
Backed by a delicate fingerpicked acoustic guitar filigree, the album ends with her singing in her native tongue on Underligt Forlegen, a title that roughly translates as Strange Embarrassment. Ida Wenøe has nothing to be embarrassed about here.
On Tour this month, visitIda Wenøe’s facebook for details: www.facebook.com/idawenoe