Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Moyka (Norway) – Illusion (single from forthcoming album)

We seem to have a lot of Norwegians at the moment and there will be more to come. It’s a highly productive place right now so it’s only to be expected.

I’ve been keeping tabs on Moyka (Monika Engseth) for a couple of years, since she appeared at the last Øya Festival in Oslo. I was particularly taken with the first song of hers that I first heard, ‘Bones’, a precocious effort for someone so young and who is a fully qualified producer as well as writer and performer.

But then some of her subsequent material became a little too derivative in my view, of Norwegian artists such as Sigrid, Aurora and Highasakite. Nothing wrong with channelling them, all are synonymous with the Norwegian music scene right now – unless you want to establish your own identity, which she wasn’t really doing. And then she tends to focus on one subject, relationship break-ups and getting back together again, and in a passive way which chimes with the tender age of much of her audience and thereby forgoing the ‘spice’ that such songs often require.

However, on the last song of hers that I checked out, ‘I don’t wanna hold on’, (yep, another break-up) back in May, she changed her style again, shifting away from a heavy synth overlay into the realms of a serene power ballad and demonstrating that she has very good vocal ability.

And so to ‘Illusion’, which will be the last single before the release of her debut album ‘The revelations of love’, (22nd October), one that is being promoted as a ‘concept’ album of personal and fictional love stories.

The song concerns falling for someone whose intentions are different from their facade, emphasising deception and duplicity. She says, “When I have a crush I tend to daydream and make up stories in my mind about meeting and being around the person that I like. In this song I wake up from the daydream to only find it was an illusion. Could be a script from ‘Dallas’.

Well, the synths are back big style in this one, along with a powerful melody line which is the strongest I’ve heard from her since ‘Bones’. Ok, I could have another little gripe about the similarity of style to the (post-2017) Highasakite (If I closed my eyes I could have sworn it was Ingrid Håvik singing the opening bars of this song) but such analogies will go over the heads of Moyka’s followers, for whom the message is the only concern.

And that message, contained within a little bisexual ménage-a-trois (or even perhaps a-quatre) in the sympathetically produced video is one which will resonate with that audience.

The song as a standalone could certainly chart in the UK, perhaps the US. If Sigrid could do it there’s no reason why Monika can’t.

Speaking of Sigrid, I always felt that she had three or four very good songs but little else in her locker before she released her own long-delayed debut album, which then turned out to be a revelation, one of the best I’ve heard in years. Could Moyka do the same? Don’t bet against it.

 ‘The revelations of love’ will be released on October 22nd via Snafu Records.

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