Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Frøkedal (Norway) – Old Mistakes (single/future album track)

Oh boy, here’s a blast from the past. Anne Lise Frøkedal and her band Familien was one of the first Nordic artists I ever reviewed when I first started doing this and we’re talking almost a decade ago now.

I’ve covered a couple of her albums since and seen her live a few times including one memorable gig in Manchester one Sunday night in April 2016 I think when there was hardly anyone there because United were playing City in a crucial game, except for a hen party which invaded the room and took it over, dancing flamenco to her subtle creations. The look on her face was priceless but she remained totally unfazed.

She isn’t dubbed ‘the coolest woman in Norway’ for nothing.

But I’ve lost track of her in recent years, along with her sister Linn, who fronts the band Misty Coast. At least Linn has been in NMC but as we approach 1000 reviews the only mention of Anne Lise is in an ‘archives’ review of the 2019 Øya Festival in Oslo during which she joined Misty Coast on stage for a few songs.

Time to put that right. She/they have put out three full albums, the most recent in 2021 and another is due, ‘Stay’, on June 7th. I believe ‘Old Mistakes’ is the first single from it.

I’ve always regarded Frøkedal as, first and foremost, a storyteller. She’s been described as Norway’s answer to Joni Mitchell – a perfectionist who writes about social and political topics as well as her own situation and traits which include impulsive thoughts and actions fuelled by everything from fear, love and deep passion to blazing anger.

Some of her work can be a little dark, too. I recall one from her 2018 ‘How we made it’ album which ventured into grotesque fairy-tale territory and which concerned a mischievous plot to tear down a tree-topped kingdom, and was inspired by the story of a six- year old child who tore his older brother’s tree house to pieces through boredom without knowing he was being watched, though I’m sure he didn’t say “Fuck you all”, which is the opening line.

The way she can veer off into unchartered territory like that has always attracted me, together with the sometimes arcane instrumentation Familien employs, which includes a miniature Greek bouzouki, accordion and Cajun triangle.

And to top it all off – I’m assuming she still has it – is her trademark gold coloured Telecaster which complements her smouldering vocal perfectly.

And they are all in play in ‘Old Mistakes’ which sets off like Angel Olsen’s ‘Lark’ before morphing into a Polyphonic Spree-like mass sing-a-long to an acoustic orchestra over which her guitar and the bass desperately try to make themselves heard.

It should be one hell of a live performance but personally I would have preferred it to go on a little longer. Just as it gets into the short strokes it ends. I’m pretty sure it will be extended on stage.

For all the new artists appearing in Norway seemingly every five minutes just now it’s somehow gratifying that one that has been around just about long enough now, in her present and previous personas, to qualify as a ‘veteran’ (well, let’s say a junior one) is still pumping out top quality songs like this.

June 7th is diaried and I hope we get a chance to see her/them again in the UK soon. But not when there’s a hen party on.

Find her on:





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.