Norwegian singer-songwriter Thomas Dybdahl’s newest release What’s Left is Forever ought to be applauded for putting some well-deserved stock into the Norwegian singer-songwriters. Like contemporary Sondre Lerche, Dybdahl’s dutiful vocabulary of instruments and genre melding creates a contemporary landscape one can get cozy in without getting comfortably numb. (I believe I lifted this last phrase from somewhere so please refrain from quoting me as you readers all often do.)
What’s most impressive about Dybdahl is that he hasn’t appropriated any other singer-songwriters who produce a mellow sound – you’ll hear less Sam Beam or Sufjan Stevens on this record and more of Dybdahl’s indelible sound in a landscape of a Norwegian winter slowly permeating into Spring. Ethereal noodlings and orchestrations aside, the non-native Nordic folks get some insight into a day in the life, as it were. (Again, no quotes, thanks.)
The track “Running on Fumes” is an august winner, subtly jazzy and funky all the same. In fact, What’s Left is Forever seems to represent what many musicians lack today – a healthy dose of deftness in their art. It’s not that complete innocuousness should be implemented, but this reviewer fails to see much value in an egregious musical display when something is visibly contrived. Dybdahl is humbling example of the soundscape purported by coffee houses and iTunes playlists at large (Yes, they still compile iTunes playlists.) Certainly the title track contains the musical thesis for the album, a parlayed waltz into what is to come during the Dybdahl experience – think Mark Ronson- lite sans a boozy narrator at the helm.
Thomas Dybdahl scores yet again, an up-and-coming contemporary maven one should not turn their nose up at. The title track of Dybdahl’s album can be heard on the Original Soundtrack for the Starz series House of Lies. Velkomen to Dybdahl yet again.
Born and raised on classic rock and oldies, Jake Tully consumed music voraciously growing up in Central California. He has his wonderful grandparents to thank for his love of music, as well as the amazing luck to have seen hundreds of concerts in his lifetime. He considers himself an eclectic consumer of all media, and further reading can be found at his blog.