We have written before, of Ingrid Olava, and most of it with an air of anticipation. For notwithstanding the glow of her live performances, it’s been the album she has been working on for a long time now that has laid claim to our hopes and expectations.

Juliet’s Wishes was released this week, and with that what may prove to become one of the most important Norwegian records of 2008 is out on the streets. Critics have been positively inclined towards this artist from her first appearance on the music scene. For it’s been clear all along that there is something special about her artistic mood and her honesty. Hers is a special charisma; a kind of darkish glow and sincerity coupled with disarming untainted ambivalence to the whole artistic institution.

Juliet’s Wishes is a debut that does justice to these notions. Norwegian papers call it a quietly towering record. –An album that is not so much immediate pop as a slow builder that reaches musical spheres that are seemingly more important. “The new maturity,” is one label that’s been applied; pointing to the notion that Ingrid Olava is an artist who has been patient and let her songs take their time and not least has been mature in the way of humbly accepting advice and help from more seasoned forces of the musical landscape.

Much critical attention is lavished on the production: In the hands of Madrugada bassists Frode Jacobsen, it is surprising, swelling and spooky. It works as a counterforce and a catalyst for the songs, which are sometimes simple in blueprint but all the more far-reaching in their full realization on record.

Contributors to the compelling sound are people like key-board spiritualist Morten Qvenild, guitar spectre Emil Nikolaisen, and, perhaps most prominently, Lars Horntvedt, whose string arrangements are “the most perceptive he has ever written”.

The conclusion is that Ingrid Olava’s debut is more progressed than most such, and that it places her well beyond the categories of “gifted” and “promising.”
Already a proven live act, such a fine record makes Ingrid Olava all the more interesting when the summer’s festival circuit cranks into gear a little later this year. sd
 
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