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Hilma Nikolaisen (Norway) – This Time (single)

Hilma Nikolaisen released her second single, ‘This Time’, from her forthcoming album on October 27th, unfortunately at a time when I had little time to pick up on it. So I’m making up time now and this time I’ve found the time to do it some justice.

And with that I’ll time out that little sequence.

The press release that went with it mentions that it is a “track full of references”. You can say that again. The opening bars are full of Arcade Fire, which coincidentally I was only writing about a couple of weeks ago, from the mid-2000s period. Think of ‘(Antichrist Television Blues’) for example. Then as the song progresses she posits herself as a Norwegian equivalent of Caroline Polachek, backed by The Undertones.

It’s insistently catchy. She must have a bionic wrist and her guitar titanium strings, the bashing she gives it, the tune enlightened by selective and discrete use of synths and assault by drum machines and underpinned by a driving bass line that she also provides. It wouldn’t have been surprised to read that she played guitar and bass at the same time, and all in time.

(Memo to self, don’t mention time again).

Lyrically, the song is written “as a note-to-self, a clear and positive NO. This far, but no further! Being a musical memo to stand up for yourself and the truth, and to get back on the right track.”

(I’d be interested to know which ‘wrong track’ she’s been on. Perhaps that will come out in the album).

She hails from a noisy background of rock and punk projects and that shows through here. One of those bands was a particularly well-known and respected one in Norway, Serena Maneesh. She’s also played in the wonderfully named Loch Ness Mouse and bass guitar seems to be her primary instrument.

Latterly she has released three quite varied solo albums, the first of which, ‘Puzzler’, won her a Grammy Award nomination in Norway, and which bring together influences as diverse as punk and country music.

The new album will be out in January 2024, on Sheep Chase Records.

I just realised that I reviewed Hilma, in December 2018, for another publication, when I wrote Nordic Music Scene for God is in the TV.

How time flies. Oops!

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