Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Songs for the End of the Day 29th March from Ove Markström (Sweden) and Unicorn (Norway)

Ove Markström (Sweden) – Du & Jag (single)

Ove Markström was here not so long ago, in February, where we noted that he is very good at mixing styles as well as creating his own. That song, ‘Bli hel igen’ (‘Be whole again’) had a Spanish feel to it and was quite upbeat, as was the single prior to that, ‘Orkar inte mer’ (‘Can’t take it anymore’)(2022).

Belatedly, I see a pattern to his songs. Both of the prior ones concerned themselves with medical matters and their titles alone suggested some stress but as I did not have the lyrics, it was hard to identify what it was all about.

Now I learn that his latest song, ‘Du & Jag’ (‘You & I’), out on 29th March, reflects on the last week he spent together with his sister at Skellefteå Hospital, in the north of Sweden.

Having fairly recently lost a close relative of my own his lyrics obviously strike a chord with me, and right from the start (original Swedish translation into English):

“You tried to say something, there was a whisper/So I put my ear near your mouth

It was hard to hear what you wanted to say/But I still understood you

Will miss you so much”.

I wonder how many people have gone through that scenario of having a relative try to tell them something but not be able to find the strength. And it always seems that what they are trying to say is something of profound importance.

Similarly with,

“Held your hand and played music for you”.

Oftentimes it is the only thing you can do, to provide any degree of comfort, to play some favourite music in this situation.

The thing is that Ove hasn’t adjusted the tempo at all for what is ostensibly the last in a trilogy of songs on this matter and if anything he has actually upped it further.

The song zips along at quite a pace, replete with full-on rock guitars and a sizzling guitar bridge.

It is almost as if, even though he sings –

“You and me, you’re never coming back/You and me, the missing never ends”…

that he feels that the missing will heal and that the parting should be seen as a celebration of what was.

You know I often read this comment on YouTube featured songs – “I want this played at my funeral.” Sometimes I can’t understand why, but in the case of ‘Du & Jag’ I probably would.

Find him on:

Unicorn (Norway) – You Are (sample title track from album of that title)

Unicorn is the project of Tonje Ettesvoll, who, if I understand it, has only fairly recently returned to Norway after a lengthy spell in the US, and this album was partially recorded in California where seemingly she was also an Uber driver.

The 10-track ‘You are’ was released digitally late last year and now it gets a vinyl record release with a very limited edition that runs to just 20 copies, all individually signed by Tonje, the cover artist Era Leisner, and the drummer Marco Minnemann.

(Browsing through the impressive list of co-operating musicians I note our old favourite Marte Eberson also turns up on keys on a couple of tracks).

The cover art work is actually a real painting she commissioned and which hangs in her living room in splendid isolation – no other prints will be made.

‘You are’ is only their second album and again if I read it right it has been 20 years in the waiting if not the making.

Tonje is certain of its value, describing it as a “sonic spectacle…and a musical adventure shaped by the bravery of pandemic proportions.”

She continues, “(It’s) a musical melting pot featuring elements of up-tempo pop, rock, prog, a dash of folk/country, a skank of ska, and a sprinkle of dreamy/jazzy vibes” and “the album boasts collaborations with world-class musicians”.

Meanwhile, “Unicorn is not just a band; it’s a mystical journey”.

Collectively, those are quite assertive claims to make if you can’t back them up. Whoever heard of ska, country and prog on the same menu?

But to be fair it’s all pretty accurate and even this sample track, the title one, is a genuine musical tour-de-force ranging across a fairly complex early pop arrangement, a powerful rock guitar bridge/solo, a proggy mid-section and then an even proggier outro where they might have resurrected Emerson to play synthesiser, while her vocal is a female play on Jon Anderson.

There is plenty going on here and it might take you a couple of hearings to get into it, but once you do you’ll be away.

It has interstate road trip stamped all over it, meaning that it’s cruising music of the highest quality and one that any Uber driver would cherish.

I quickly checked out some of the other tracks and there is huge variety. The ska makes its first appearance in track #3, ‘Original Sin’, while ‘Honestly’ and ‘Unreality’ could both have been lifted from a West End musical and ‘In hell you are’ has more of an Americana feel to it than Beyoncé’s latest effort.

Then there’s a sweet ballad, ‘I wonder’, complete with a couple of sax interjections (she plays both alto and tenor herself, along with clarinet), that are as effective as those in ‘Baker Street’ and Hazel O’Connor’s ‘Will you’.

Final track ‘Bird’ has so many ‘influences’ I don’t know quite where to start. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Argent, Fiona Apple, you’ll hear all of them without trying to. It would be naff to say it ‘soars’ but yes, it does!

It’s unlike anything you’ve heard before, I can guarantee that.

Uber and out!

I’ve only written this as a sample track review but I’m going to give it an album review score and that is 8/10.

Here is a link to the vinyl information:

Find them on:




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