‘Featherbrain’, Hanne Hukkelberg’s latest album slated for a Feb 17th release, has already racked up some very positive UK reviews.
Combining the noisy guitars and heavy rhythms of Blood From A Stone, the stripped-down, lyrical lightness from Rykestrasse 68, and the weird and quirky sound picture from Little Things, Featherbrain creates a kind of antique pop music, at the same time brittle and soft, powerful and fragile. Hukkelberg explains: -This album feels like the missing link. To understand the previous albums, you need to listen to Featherbrain, and the other way around.
Hanne Hukkelberg on Spotify
The first international reviews are in; Mojo and Uncut lead the way with two highly positive ones:
Uncut: Delicately antehmic fourth from versatile Norwegian.
Akin to fellow high-pitched slightly dotty female Scandos like Maja Ratkje, Jenny Hval and Björk, Hukkelberg Adds another to her already impressive catalogue. The nursery nap-time vocals of her earlier work are still here, but with rougher tones added, as on ‘My Devils’ where she channels early Liz Fraser. Delicacy and doom also duel on the backing, with thumb pianos and videogame tones rubbing against booming drums and bells. A duet with her 88-year neighbor ends proceeding on a ghostly whistle – the creepy house at the end of this album’s winding path.
Ben Beaumont-Thomas - 4/5
Mojo: Shimmering fourth album from eccentric Norwegian singer/songwriter.
Having fronted everything from doom metal to free jazz bands, Hukkelberg can turn her hand to anything, but perhaps overreached herself with the clunky indie gestures of 2009’s Blood From a Stone. Here she slips into the magical vocals and multi instrumentals she’s more comfortable with, creating the feel of home recordings. The Bigger Me was indeed recorded in her New York apartment, while the devotional The Time And I And What We Make was fashioned in her kitchen and a church, her father Sigurd Hukkelberg on church organ. She has the same jagged enchanting sensuality as Björk, but while the latter has gone into ambient iPad apps, Hukkelberg is more ghostly off-kilter Broadway. This is most atmospheric on the stand-out Erik, which features a detuned piano and a duet with an 88-year-old classically trained singer Erik Vister.
Lucy O’Brien - 4/5
Writes Jenny Hval in Featherbrain’s liner notes:
Featherbrain is a risky album. Both dissonant and lyrical, it is music for headphones and notebooks. Its intimate, eccentric sounds demand your intimacy and your eccentricity, but the effort is rewarded: a personal and honest sonic world opens up, in fact, so sincere Hukkelberg had to toughen up to record it. Listen carefully.
Hukkelberg’s music has always been about personal sound. This has given her great artistic freedom to move effortlessly between genres, and her three previous albums are defined by utterly distinct soundscapes: debut Little Things (2005) was eccentric and adventurous, second offering Rykestrasse 68 (2007) warm and lyrical, and third album Blood From A Stone (2009) explored a huge, romantic indie rock canvas. The otherworldly take on pop, jazz and art rock has given Hukkelberg a wide audience internationally, and in 2010 she toured with Wilco. This was also the year she travelled to New York to write new material. The result is Featherbrain, combining the noisy guitars and heavy rhythms of Blood From A Stone with a more stripped-down, lyrical lightness. She explains: ”This album feels like the missing link, the record that concludes my first years as a solo artist…Featherbrain is its own beast, but it still has aspects of the other three in it.”
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