Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Ask Carol (Norway) – Quiet One (single from forthcoming debut album)

If anyone had asked me I’d have ventured that Norway’s answer to Ask Siri might be Ask Solveig or something of that order. Not Carol. At least it isn’t Karen. You wouldn’t want any sort of response from her now, would you?

Alternatively, it sounds like an agony aunt column in the Aftenposten. (There is an Ask Caroline in the UK’s Daily Mail). And indeed there is a ‘personal problem page’ feel to the song. The ‘Quiet One’ could be someone that no-one understands. The Outsider. L’Ėtranger. The one you only ever see fleetingly leaving the house and usually at night. Or stood alone, in the playground. The introverted squaddie who is easily bullied by his bigger army mates but who is the one that wins the Victoria Cross for storming an enemy machine gun position single-handedly while they hunker down in the trenches cuddling their teddy bears. The shy boy who turns into Rudolf Valentino in the bedroom and, in Carol’s words is “welcomed to the other side.”

You get the idea.

The song opens in gentle Dream Pop mode but after 45 seconds or so you’ll be convinced Mad Vlad has set off one of his tactical nukes. There is a distinctly epic grandeur to this catchy power pop song that you simply can’t ignore as Carol rivals Bonnie Tyler in ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ for intensity.

I’ve noted on several occasions recently that “this should be (X country’s) Eurovision entry this year. This one definitely should be. It would shake things up a bit.

I’m not going to trouble you with international artists and bands Ask Carol been compared to, the list as long as the queue for the hairdressers after lockdown. What I hear on ‘Quiet One’ is actually more Norwegian in nature, more in the way of, say, some of Katzenjammer’s more serious work than any amount of comparisons with Lana Del Rey, Wolf Alice or The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

They’ve released one EP already and this is the second single from their forthcoming debut album. They aren’t keen on too much being known about them, they have an almost Orville Peck-like secrecy.

What is known is that they are a duo (Carol and Mr Ask, that’s as much as you’re getting), a sort of White Stripes in reverse on Aquavit or the Ting Tings after too many cans of Boddingtons; multi-instrumentalists, using guitar, synths, drums and a drum machine plus sampling to produce their big sound. They are based out of a remote mountain community called Auma, a couple of hundred kilometres north of Oslo and in the middle of nowhere.

They’ve done the rounds with tours of the Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Scandinavia, two visits to SXSW and they’ve supported The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

So why haven’t they been in NMC before now? Ask Carol.

One thing I would like to ask her/him/them is when they’re coming to the UK. Carol hits some high and powerful notes on this song and I’d love to hear if she can ping them, live. My money says she can.

‘Quiet One’’s release date is April 22nd, 2022 on ChoVan Records, their own Indie Label.

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