Album Review: Torgeir Waldemar – Jamais Vu

The Facebook page of Norwegian singer-songwriter Torgeir Waldemar describes him as a ‘black-clad, longhaired and bearded man with great songs’. It might be somewhat concise but it is most certainly apt. Having played in various bands and projects Waldemar originally took Norway by storm with the release of his debut solo album back in 2014. Since then his is a name that has been growing year on year across the globe and this year marks the release of his current mini-album Jamais Vu.

Jamais Vu is a fleeting but breath-taking dip back into the musical world of Waldemar and his energetic, enigmatic musical productions. Having spent most of his career dabbling primarily in the rock genre his transition into folk was a welcome one and bring with him his wealth of knowledge he created an exemplary sound with a rich and textured feeling to it that easily blurs the lines between rock, folk and country. Jamais Vu gives you a brief but vibrant glance into the extraordinary mind of Waldemar. His grandiose and orchestral stylings are the music of dreams and with his opening gambit of Sylvia he opts for this operatic swelling of sound that sits alongside his tender acoustic melodies. The way he draws sound from his strings is as though the guitar is an extension of himself and he draws sound from it as effortlessly as if drawing a breath. Following on from this masterpiece is Among the Low, like a train switching tracks his sound is suddenly derailed into a rich and vivacious folk-country-rock melody that sings to you like the songs of old. It sounds as though a reimagining of a song that was once heard long ago in a dusty bar off of Route 66 – a raucous collection of fiddles and banjos that can put a spring in your step.

One of the aspects within Jamais Vu that makes it so enjoyable is the depth of sound the Waldemar is able to create. Coming from a rock background he has never been afraid to blur the lines between folk and rock and when you combine this determination with his textured, almost smoky vocals you get a treat for the heart. In Jamais Vu he leads with the first three acoustic tracks and follows them with two electric tracks to close. In reality this should only serve as the difference between the guitars themselves but the actual outcome is a different between the songs as vast as the Marians Trench. While the initial tracks are energetic and lively, by the time you reach the electric cracklings of Streets reach your ears Waldemar’s music has transformed into an altogether different beast. Loud and soothing at the same time his considerate guitar melodies are overlaid with a resounding and electrifying pair of songs that seem as if the very embodiment of life.

A warming and affirmative collection of songs that continue in Waldemar’s rich vein of electric folk-rock, Jamais Vu is a brief but beautiful album that can introduce you to a new way of listening.

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Review by Joe Knipe

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