As the guitarist and vocalist in the incredibly popular rock band Kråkesølv, Fredrik William Olsen has become known for his subtle lyrics and catchy pop riffs. He comes from a diverse musical background, ranging from his youthful involvement in the punk community of the town of Bodø, through composing pop songs with Sondre Justad, to artful hip-hop projects with artists from northern Norway such as Magnus Eliassen and RSP.
An exciting musical step forward
This third solo album is an exciting musical step forward for Fredrik William Olsen. His collaboration with an old friend from Bodø, the experimental musician Lars Myrvoll, has elicited greater artistic potential in Olsen’s folksongs. The instrumentation is richer than previously, and the exploitation of the studio’s possibilities as an instrument has resulted in an airier tonal quality and a more modern sound. The outcome is pleasing pop music that is laden with substance. It is not easy to pigeonhole this music, but it is reasonable to believe that it will appeal to those who combed the web sites of the 00s searching for indie bands such as Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear or Animal Collective.
Olsen was asked in an interview whether he thought it was important for an artist to have opinions, and he answered: “I think it’s important for a human being to have opinions.” His lyrics are consistently rated as among the best literary efforts of Norwegian songwriters, and his use of metaphors alone would merit a research paper. Lines such as “We examine ourselves and find a shattered mirror” display an uncommon level of linguistic elegance. This album is full of thematic variations and contrasts. “På ny” describes a young person’s slight intoxication and devil-may-care attitude, while the other end of the spectrum is represented by the bleak “Ruth Maier”, a song about the deportation of a Jewish refugee of that name during World War II. The album closes with the upbeat and philosophical song “Den valgte ensomheta”, which was written in close companionship with a bottle of red wine at Olsen’s cabin outside of Bodø.