Norwegian troubadour Torgeir Waldemar follows up his eponymous debut album with a track list that is harder, heavier and more angst filled than before. Building on the acoustic base of the first album, Torgeir broadens his sound with a rockier edge replete with boosting backing vocals and plenty of accompanying vocal frustration.
Falling Rain (Link Wray) sets the tone for the majority of the tracks with commentaries about murders, suicide, refugees coupled with the line “the whole world has gone insane.” The final knell in humanities ultimate destruction is that all will be left is the falling rain is a pretty bleak view of today's world. The disenchantment and delusion continues with Summer In Toulouse which displays the beginnings of that punchier sound that tips from folk to Americana throughout the album. It's a prime example of Torgeir using a more uptempo feel to throw a veil over the darker lyrics, fooling you into the belief that these songs are somewhat optimistic.
The eight track album is styled as a modern protest, raging at the state we have gotten ourselves into. It's certainly nothing new, and in the 40 plus years since we first had rallying singers from Greenwich Village, not much has changed about the social injustice they were fighting for.
Sylvia (Southern People) draws a lineage to Neil Young's Southern Man in terms of style, mood and structure, he even acknowledges this homage in the lyrics; 'Oh the time has passed, since the old man yelled about the southern man. Oh the time has a-changed banjos played the song of rearrange' It's a powerful message to reawaken as a commentary on recent racial troubles in America and is a clever reply song to one of Young's most radical and far-reaching tracks; although not as optimistic or complementary as Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama.
Island Bliss and I See The End return Torgeir to his roots of simple melodies and descriptive lyrics. One of the most appealing things about Torgeir is his earnest approach to songwriting. He writes from a position of raw emotion that gives his songs sincerity and depth that you don't often find these days; it's actually pretty refreshing to find a songwriter who's prepared to tackle current issues and not writing about lost love and dead dogs.
Those that were drawn to his original folk sound need not worry, there's still a strong guitar base alongside his poetic nature, but it's more Neil Young than Bob Dylan this time round.
Groupie Rating 3/5