Black Feather Silhouette

Black Feather Silhouette
The talent pool of Norway's Jaga Jazzist was incontestably fjord deep, though the evidence we North Americans witnessed usually had to do with their killer horn section. So, this first solo effort by guitarist Harald Frøland, which pours all of its considerable energy into elegant and brimful pop songs, is a little stunning. Time playing in so large a band obviously contributed to the savvy arrangements of the conjoined guitar and keyboard leads. Warm and unforced vocals sit mid-mix in songs that are always urgent but never histrionic. An economy-minded version of Sufjan Stevens' orchestral pieces would be a close relative. Songs like first single "Razor Blade" blast open the door, while "American Zen" gradually fills every square centimetre with sound by song's end. Lyrically, the sentiments are slippery, one moment love, love, love, the next it's clear that love is just a symptom or complication of something else. It's a debut album that speaks softly despite the large stick it carries. (Other Electricities)