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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



SOLVEIG SLETTAHJELL

Good Rain

Act ACT 9713-2

 

 

 
1. Where Do You Run To?
2. Another Day
3. Don’t Look Back
4. Colour Lullabye
5. Flawless
6. We Were Indians
7. Do Lord
8. My Oh My
9. Good Rain
10. The Moon
11. P. S. I Love You
Solveig Slettahjell – Vocals, piano (on track 4)
Sjur Miljeteg – Horns
Morten Qvenild – Piano, keyboards, autoharp, vocals
Mats Eilertsen – Acoustic and electric bass
Per Oddvar Johansen – Drums, electronics

Solveig Slettahjell is a vocalist from Norway, and her singing has some of the chilliness of that northern realm. She has an attractive voice, reminiscent of Lizz Wright in its soaring clarity but sometimes (for example, in We Were Indians and My Oh My) sounding like a rather anaemic version of Debbie Harry. Solveig has an intimate approach which buttonholes the listener and breathes the lyrics into his ear. Thankfully the words are in English, although some of the lyrics are obscure and the opening track gets on one’s nerves with its endless repetition of the words "Where do you run to?"

Another disconcerting feature is the way that the keyboardist and drummer like to interject weird sounds into the generally placid music. Solveig calls her band the Slow Motion Quintet and most of the songs seem to be delivered in slow motion. The overall impression is generally downbeat – you can’t tap your foot or sing along with these songs. And the singer’s understated (even offhand) delivery tends to suggest "Take it or leave it".

Many listeners will take it rather than leave it, as the enigmatic style is intriguing. Others will find the music puzzling, especially as most of the songs are originals which make few concessions to comprehensibility. The only jazz standard is the final P. S. I Love You, which is more accessible than the rest of the material, although it lasts for less than two minutes. British listeners can judge for themselves, as Solveig is touring the UK in November.


Tony Augarde

 



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