Ane Brun – Songs 2003-2013 (Balloon Ranger)
10 June 2013
Norwegian songstress, Ane Brun, releases a ten year, 32 songs retrospective on Monday which contain rare and previously unreleased material. Here’s our review.
If, like me, the first Ane Brun album you heard was 2011’s superb It All Starts With One, then finding out that she’s recorded ten years worth of material may come as a bit of a surprise. Hailing from Norway Ane has, over that period, released eight albums, three of which reached pole position in her country of birth.
In the UK, however, Ane’s a relative unknown and that is a huge travesty. Her voice can best be described as a more macabre Dolly Parton – when you hear it you’ll know exactly what I mean. It has that country twang to it but with an added, very unique, dark slant. The songs range from epic in production to the simplest of simple, but the common denominator is ‘that’ voice. The tones often quiver in fragility and shiver down your spine.
Ane’s career thus far is represented here by a double cd and it’s good stuff. Humming One Of Your Songs from 2003 is a simple affair but her tones bring the track to life. With more than a passing resemblance of Fiona Apple, she strolls through the song with effortless beauty. Again, on Song No 6, a song that could otherwise be lost is brought to life, almost like a passage or short description set to music.
There are several cover versions here too – True Colors (Cyndi Lauper), Big In Japan (Alphaville) and Feeling Good (Take your pick) which are all given new meaning and new life. The first two of these take otherwise dull songs and turn them into mini masterpieces, the later turns the 1964 soundtrack song by Cy Grant into something so far removed from versions by Nina Simone and Muse that it has to be heard to be believed.
Gillian is marvellous and heartbreaking and one of those songs that you just want to put on repeat. The subject matter, American singer-songwriter, Gillian Welch must wish she’d written it herself.
As a down-side, It All Starts With One is unnecessarily represented by six tracks, which although superb, seems excessive. There’s one notable absence on the release which is Ane’s cover version of Depeche Mode’s Fly On The Windscreen which she performed with Vince Clarke, and, maybe the removal of one of the aforementioned tracks might have been wise to make way for it.
Some of the many highlights are in the form of some of her many duets with the likes of Ron Sexsmith, Jose Gonzalez and Peter Gabriel (where she becomes Kate Bush on Don’t Give Up).
Thirty-two tracks and an incredible insight into one of todays phenomenal voices.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.