by Paddy Kinsella
Nordic singer-songwriter Siv Jakobsen’s last album, A Temporary Soothing, was a lush, cinematic affair that was constructed with the attention of a forensic pathologist. Jakobsen travelled to South Devon to make it, recording it with producer Chris Bond (Ben Howard, Nick Mulvey). For her upcoming album, Gardening, she chose to stay at home in Norway – making it with the help of two close friends, Simen Mitlid and Hans Olav Settem. This snug apparatus is representative of how Jakobsen has spent the intervening years between A Temporary Soothing and Gardening: reconnecting with her homeland and reflecting on her life experiences.
Indeed, the title is a nod to just how much time Jakobsen has spent in her garden. Whether reflective of this grounding process, or the ease she feels in the company of pals, the songs taken from it – she has shared six so far – have been her most unvarnished to date. The lyrics, as you’ll hear on Tangerine, are quite literally naked – ‘Here I am naked in the front room / the neighbours are staring / and I’m looking back at them’, she sings, – and the soundscapes are evidence of an artist who’s happy to take themselves less seriously. While the gentle sway of previous single, Birthday, offered a glimpse into the sheer fun that Jakobsen and her friends had while making the album, Tangerine holds a microscope to it. A song with just one verse, it shows Siv’s newfound partiality to move away from the structures she has previously clung closely to. After the chorus, we’re treated to an almost funfair-like mixture of hums and horns that send us giddily back into an elongated, fully-loaded version of the chorus. Jakobsen is happy to indulge and go where the wind blows her. Jakobsen has previously questioned whether she has put herself in unhappy situations in order to create, on Tangerine she puts that conflict to bed once and for all. A happy Siv is an instinctive one and all the better for it.
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