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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 88 - 12/08/03

Eyes Closed EP

A pleasant and yet relative unwritten page in the music scene in Norway. With their privately pressed debut EP Eyes Closed this female dominated band has delivered 5 pieces of soothing, bittersweet urban lullabies.

All the songs are written and arranged by Hanne Holmesland and Merete Hald and most of the instruments are played by the girls (except the drums). The band now also includes Lotte Halstensen (from Wenche Fuzz and The White Birch) on drums and Thormod Andersen on bass. Musically the play dark, yet intense "sadcore" with a mellow floating female voice and subdued fuzz guitars. This music style seems to appeal especially to the growing number of female or female-dominated bands (for instance Furia). If you should name a typical trait for girl-dominated bands, it would be a beautiful, melancholic voice often with several layers of voices (the girls tend to take their singing seriously) but often combined with a harder guitar sound.

The situation for the female musicians in Norway has improved a lot through the last decade. One of the reasons could be the fact that there has been an organisation called AKKS, which offers different courses in different instrument, vocals, sound engineering etc. This has largely increased the number of female musicians on the ground level and over the years some of them have become really good. There's of course several different ways of doing it in the business and some girls also like to distance them from an organisation working with girls. (Because it's easy to get a negative tag saying that you actually needs help...) But given the fact that the rock scene originally is a male-dominated scene, I think it's important to give young females their own space in the beginning. There are a lot of obstacles in the industry, and not all of them are that obvious. Anyway, regardless of how you are doing it, it is important and a great thing that so many girls have reached a certain level in the rock scene. One of the most important reasons for other girls to pick up the guitars is that there are role models and that they are actually good.

Dive had released a solid piece of work and the songs kind of grow after a while. It's well performed both on the instruments and the vocals. A threatening soundscape liberated by delicate carpet of beautiful vocal harmonies. This is especially true on track number 2 "Stay" which bears a certain kinship to Massive Attack's "Angel" and the Cocteau Twins' album Garlands. On some songs the vocals could do with a bit more power and sting. It gets a bit too careful at times and tends to be a bit anonymous. The main question will be if they stand out enough in the now so crowded sadcore scene in Norway, but it certainly is a promising debut.

Best track: The mysterious "Stay": A well-composed track with a hypnotic, claustrophobic verse released by the delicate harmonies in the chorus.

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