New Music: Siv Jakobsen – Like I Used To

With so much new material coming out of Scandinavia these days, and with Norway, in particular, producing some very upfront, powerful performers, it’s easy to forget that the country does possess its fair share of more restrained folk singer-songwriters as well. Indeed TMB has featured some of them in the past, such as Anne-Lise Frøkedal and UK-based student trio I See Rivers.

Siv Jakobsen is from a small town near Oslo and has the influential CV credentials of having studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, where she graduated from vocalist to songwriter. She’d previously decided that songwriting wasn’t for her until she took a course in it and within an hour had what she describes as her ‘lightbulb moment.’

She released her debut (and seven-track long) EP, ‘The Lingering’, in 2015 – it was streamed over seven million times – and will drop her debut LP later this year, with Like I used to being the first track released from it. She’s talked about there being ‘frustration’ in every song and you can hear it, even feel it, on Like I used to; she’s intense and doesn’t hold back.

“Your silence reeks of cheating, reeks of her/I can sense her in your mouth on my neck/And in your screaming at the mention of her name/And your anger spills like bullets to my brain.”

I don’t know quite what it is about Norway but there is the same sort of sadness and hopelessness that she’s talked about concerning her EP in quite a few of the artists there, as if they can’t reconcile the fact that the little country that hosts the Nobel Peace Prize is largely impotent in world affairs, and this seems to trickle down into private life.  At least on this song – and presumably on the album – she’s letting her anger out rather than bottling it.

For her debut album, she worked with producer Matt Ingram (Laura Marling) and mixer Dan Cox (Thurston Moore, Lianne La Havas) at Urchin Studios in Hackney, London and Ingram helped build the intensity of the songs. I guess one of the ways he did it here was in the introduction of the percussion later in the track.  Guest vocals are provided courtesy of Andrew Davie from Bear’s Den.

Siv has four forthcoming dates at British venues:

26 April – The Garage, Glasgow

29 April – Live at Leeds

01 May – Gullivers, Manchester

03 May St Pancras Old Church, London

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