By Phil Scarisbrick
Anxiety is something that seems to have swamped the world at the moment. An all too common side affect of the viral pandemic is the mental and emotional toll it can have on people. This is nothing new though – it is just amplified by our common invisible foe. Oslo-native, Siv Jakobsen, was all ready to start promoting new album, A Temporary Soothing, when Covid-19 interupted our lives. The common thread throughout the record is her contextualisation of her own anxiety issues, and this prescient insight means that the album sits slap bang in the middle of the zeitgeist, however unintentionally.
New single, Anywhere Else, is the perfect distillation of this situation that Jakobsen has found herself in. The song tackles the underlying anxiety that sits just beneath the surface. The relentless, dull buzz – rather than foghorn hystreonics – that never really leaves those hit inhabits. From the opening verse, Jakobsen lists her fears over bright guitar strums, equally upset at the prospect of hurting others as much as herself – ‘I’m scared of dying, scared of breaking/I’m scared of killing someone else along my way.’ The call and answer melody of the verses gives way to a slightly paicked but alluringly earnest chorus. As the song builds, there is no great lift in dynamic, but subtle sonic additions along the way combine to create a final chorus that is effortlessly impactful on the listener.
If this is song is a sign of what we’re about to hear, the forthcoming longplayer may well find a home in the collections and libraries of its listeners – not only because it sounds beautiful, but because of the empathy it invokes. It would be crass to suggest the pandemic creates a greater commercial opportunity for Jakobsen, but it certainly makes the themes she sings about more important.
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