Ane Brun, A Temporary Dive
Band members: Ane Brun plays guitar, sings vocals, and writes the songs/lyrics; features duets with Ron Sexsmith, Syd Matters, and Teitur. Brun’s website and her myspace page do not list any musicians. A lot of hardcore music magazines do not give credit to the musicians. Come on now, Ane Brun, you can’t play guitar and triangle simultaneously while singing, can you?
Without any hint of an accent, the lady from Stockholm – Ane Brun – sounds much like a melancholic, but sweet, Ani DiFranco – without the pointed pronunciations and machine-gun style. In her tastefully artistic, calming style, she recounts the time following her recording debut. It soothes souls, even if she only meant to help herself. The lyrics are poetic, and reveal so much about her journey in that year.
She sings about internal journeys of finding one’s voice and letting go; and recounts the external world, of ending friendships, and leaving lovers.
In its stateside debut May, 2006 A Temporary Dive, featuring vocals by Ron Sexsmith (Song No. 6, which is track 2); Syd Matters on the bonus track Little Lights (U.S. release); and of course track 9 – Rubber & Soul – gives us Teitur.
Teitur must be that special in Stockholm that he can goes by one name. Hey, Madonna does it. And when he’s ready to board the spaceship, they’ll just call him “The Sign” instead of even using a name.
And a note about Syd Matters: he sounds like Mark Oliver Everett of the Eels, which makes me think every artist in the U.S. has a twin somewhere in Europe (Ane Brun’s being Ani DiFranco.)
It’s very Scandinavian, and I say that because it’s like the Cardigans on valium and cut down (mostly) to one lead singer: peaceful, meditative, angelic, and soft, without being too weird for the mainstream. Selling out shows and receiving much radio play in the mainstream European markets, Ane Brun finally set out to play in the United States, with a critically noted performance at the South-by-Southwest Festival in Austin in March 2006.
She won the Norwegian Alarm Awards for Best Pop Album 2005, honored with the Norwegian Spellemannsprisen (Grammy’s) for Best Female Artist 2005 and the Hit of the Year 2005 together with Madrugada. She was nominated as best Norwegian Act on European MTV Music Awards 2005, best Norwegian song of the century (Norwegian National Radio) and best Swedish Female Pop Artist.
Overall, her sound is sweet, and her gentle female touch makes every moment – even the dirty, unpleasant ones – something to savor. The songs are simple and soothing to the ear, generally carried by guitar, which provides a meditative tone. The music is similarly styled throughout the CD, with This Voice as an exception. All-in-all, great music, easy to listen to, and enjoyable.
1. To Let Myself Go
It’s life affirming, and basically says: “To let myself go, to let myself flow is the only way of being. There’s no use telling me, no use telling me take a step back from me.”
A simple guitar, bells, triangle, and heavenly vocal tones underly her lyrics.
2. Song No. 6 (featuring Ron Sexsmith)
This duet actually starts off like an Ani DiFranco song; it is poetic and they sing of love for one another, sung back and forth between Brun and Ron Sexsmith.
3. Balloon Ranger
I don’t note anything about this song, and I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I don’t know what she’s talking about. Can you tell me, what is a balloon ranger, and why don’t I get it? Still like listening to it.
4. My Lover Will Go
Here’s a testament to Ane Brun’s artistry – the song makes a lover leaving seem romantic.
5. Temporary Dive
6. Laid in Earth
Mortality of self. “Remember me,” she repeats sweetly.
7. This Voice
This song has the most unique sound on the CD because the guitar takes a backseat to the electronic piano and triangle, which introduce Ane singing about what seems like the answer to “finding one’s voice.” It is met by a walking bass line on tuba. Can’t imagine who thought, “Yes! That’s what we need – a tuba!” But, it works. Oddly, fingers sliding along a guitar are evident, but the guitar sound itself is not apparent.
8. Where Friend Rhymes With End
Lyrical highlight? When Brun pokes fun at herself for the title of this song, for rhyming end with friend.
9. Rubber & Soul, featuring Teitur
She makes everything – vomiting, crawling on the floor, a lapse of grace – so palpable and yet palatable. I want to stay and hear about how “rubberbands around the soul keep me from falling.”
10. The Fight Song
The lyrics separate this song from the others. Listen carefully!
11. Little Lights, featuring Syd Matters [Bonus track on U.S. CDs]
Syd Matters’ voice melds well with Brun’s, and that’s all she wrote!