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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 224 - 12/06/14

Jørn Åleskjær
I'm So Glad I Spent This Day With You
Voices Of Wonder / Sounds Familyre

Jørn used to be one of the brothers, one of the guitarists (and keyboardists) and one of the songwriters of The Loch Ness Mouse (LNM), but left after the third album to pursue a songwriter career. He has written songs for Norwegian I Was A King and American The Ladybug Transistor among others, but couldn't resist recording on his own as well. The compilation album Tweest And Shout to celebrate 20 years of the little independent Oslo-based record company Perfect Pop, that released the first three LNM-albums among others, included a couple of contributions by Monobird, Jørn's solo project. An album should follow suit soon after, and here it is, only three years later. Oslo-based Voices Of Wonder take care of the European distribution whereas Sufjan Steven's Sounds Familyre do the job on the other side of the Atlantic.

Loch Ness Mouse developed from English flavoured indie-pop to American more established and sophisticated pop, first with a hint of Beach Boys, later 1970s Steely Dan, well produced AM pop and soft rock. It's not difficult to notice that Jørn was a vital part of the Mouse's third album 11-22 back in 2005 (wow, that long ago...!) before he left. I guess I'm So Glad I Spent This Day With You is a more logic successor of 11-22 than the fourth Mouse album New Graffiti from 2009. Here are generous doses of fragile melancholic pop, light funk, pop-soul, pop-jazz, a cool one close to a Steely Dan pastiche and a couple of "Almost Gospel" songs. The cover photo gives a clue or two what this is about. I think the quietest songs works best, when Jørn reveals vulnerability somewhere up the streets in between The Beach Boys brothers Brian and Dennis Wilson. Especially the closing track "Ocean View", but also the short and sweet "I See How The Wind". And then there is "About To Go" featuring Gary Olson of The Ladybug T. Otherwise Jørn is helped out by ex-colleague Emil Nikolaisen from early Loch Ness Mouse days (now Serena Maneesh). His sister Elvira Nikolaisen duets beautifully with Jørn on the velvet soft and almost crooning at times title track. Jørn's brother Ole Johannes (still with the Mouse) has produced the album and a couple of other current Mouse members and others from the Oslo pop over- and underground joins in, too.

All in all the album is a bit too soft and well produced in the long run for my taste; too many American sounding soft horns, keyboards and distinguished harmony vocals. The piano sound of the pop-ballad "Breakfast On A Plane" and the rough guitar of the blues-gospel "To Damascus" are welcomed detours in this respect. That said, I'm So Glad I Spent This Day With You demonstrates once again that Jørn is a great pop songsmith.

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