Three years ago the band Familieforetaket released their sensational debut album ‘Going North’. This little wonder of a record appeared out of nowhere, like a bolt of lightning, from the small island of Stord on the west coast of Norway, a place that isn’t known for its big and vibrant music scene. However it is right here, amongst the Norwegian fjords, that we find Cecilie Anna, an incredibly gifted singer and songwriter who is now ready to release her third album. On the album released under her band’s name, Familieforetaket, she shared the microphone with two male vocalists, and subsequently changed her artist name to Cecilie Anna for her second album in 2017 (‘I’m Here’), shouldering the vocal duties herself. And even though the use of different vocalists brought a certain dynamic to Familieforetaket, I actually think she did the right thing.
Today, the first single from the upcoming album New Bird is being released on this blog. It’s called ‘Follow You’, a song as naked and bare as they come. A sacred song of comfort, revealing a melodic sensibility which is utterly undisputable. However, at the same time it is also clear that Cecilie Anna is an artist with a vision.
The lyrics are ambiguous. They could be about walking in the Lord’s light or the light of love and human compassion. The press release tells a slightly different story, speaking of “creating a circle, an outline of the space within us which longs for consolation and love when going through difficult times”.
When the night falls and I
lay my head to rest
And the sky turns so weak
And falls into the night
I have done all I can to follow you
Cause from your heart
A light shines on me
Those are well-written lyrics, and Cecilie Anna sings the words with power in her voice, despite only being accompanied by a tiny, 37-key synthesiser, which she has named “Synthia”. There is a great deal of hidden power in Cecilie Anna’s delicate voice and her little synth, which produces a sound not unlike a church organ, full of weight and fervency. I can’t think of a better example of the concept “less is more”. It is also important to note how short this song is; only two verses and two choruses, two minutes and 46 seconds. Why spend a lot of time when it is possible to convey all that needs to be conveyed as concisely as this? ‘Follow You’ is a song which doesn’t need anything else. It is almost perfect, in a minimalist sense.
I have to admit though that I am a little sceptical about releasing ‘Follow You as a single. It is a very typical opening track on an album (which could have also worked as a closing track, given the musical qualities) and maybe a little downbeat. On the other hand, none of the other tracks of the upcoming album ‘New Bird’ (release date 25 October) would run the risk of your neighbour calling the police due to noise pollution. Cecilie Anna’s preferred musical landscape is rather more low-key, quiet and subtle. Her inspiration comes from musicians such as Joe Henry and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (an entire song on this album is dedicated to the latter) rather than Lenny Kravitz or Roger Waters.
‘Follow You’ is simply a beautiful song which it is hard to protect yourself against. A song which could (almost) make you turn to religion.