A Temporary Dive
With the volume of albums I try to review during any given week, my prime listening time is on the drive to and from work. For some bands this imperfect environment doesn’t act as much of a damper on the listening experience; Ane Brun isn’t one of them. A Temporary Dive is much too fragile, hushed and restrained to rise above the sound of a car engine, teeth chattering and the heater blasting at maximum intensity. As such, my former ambivalent reaction to her ended when I finally listened to her disc on my home stereo and the verdict is quite good.
Brun’s songwriting recalls any number of genres and eras of folk music. At her most basic, which is just her voice and her acoustic guitar, she can be pleasant, if a little underwhelming which is kind of perplexing since her voice has that elvish/heavenly timbre a number of Scandinavian songstresses are blessed with. “Song No. 6” pulls a little too heavily from the coffee-house jazz vibe that drowned most ’90s folk in mediocrity, but tracks like “Balloon Ranger” and “Laid in Earth” temper this by riding waves of pedal steel and string sections respectively. The latter would feel right at home on Nick Drake’s Bryter Layter, which is no small praise. “This Voice” and “Where Friend Rhymes With End” are two of the disc’s stand-outs in two different sonic realms. “This Voice” is a slowly-building mass of tightly wound instrumentation. It begins with an urgent, quick piano melody and adds slight flourishes from tuba, triangle and drums. It never reaches above a dull roar, but there’s a great sinister punch to it by the end. “Where Friend…” makes great use of minor chords on the acoustic guitar, which are bolstered by gliding pedal steel and echoing electric guitar to darken the bittersweet autumnal hue of the lyrics.
These subtleties provided by Brun’s cast of supporting musicians give A Temporary Dive legs to stand on and make it a worthwhile listen when that feeling calls to get lost in the little things and analyze minutiae, just remember to stay off the road when doing so.
V2 Records: www.v2records.com