Silje Leirvik - Endless Serenade (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
NORWEGIAN singer-songwriter Silje Leirvik’s second album, Endless Serenade, is a more expansive and adventurous listen than her more traditional folk-pop debut and, arguably, more appealing as a result.
Where her debut album, With The Lights Turned Out So Beautiful, featured the organic tones of grand piano and string section, this time Leirvik (alongside producer Rhys Marsh) decided to experiment more with textures, feeding pedal steel guitar, electric piano and drum machine through tape delay machines, then blending this with drums, mellotron and guitars.
This results in the album having a very warm, retro presence to augment its folk, rock and pop.
Evidence of the resulting diversity is particularly strong on Snø, a track sung in her mother language that slow builds into a wonderfully layered listen, complete with flutes to augment its more predictable elements.
But evidence of the ambition is found throughout, whether in opening track Glass of Water, which clocks in at over six minutes, but is mellow in the extreme (and beautifully composed) in the way that it combines gently pulsing guitars with the lyrical refrain “I’ll drink of yours, you can drink of me”.
Former single Silver & Gold then adopts a more rock-folk vibe and opens up into a stirring chorus that explores the complexity of love, while the folk-acoustica of Leah’s Song is enchanting.
There’s a nice brooding element to the percussion on In The Garden, which also weaves in some beautiful piano arrangements, and Serenade rounds things off with a bittersweet pop song that combines a laidback pace with some notable melodies and a dreamy, wistful vocal that bears favourable comparison with Karen Carpenter.
Just occasionally, some of the quieter, more sparse songs leave you pining for the more immediately radio-friendly offerings (When In The Water being a prime example). But even when Endless Serenade goes quiet, there’s generally something to impress just waiting in the wings.
Download picks: Glass of Water, Silver & Gold, Snø, Serenade, Leah’s Song