Torgeir Waldemar – ‘Jamais Vu’ reviewed

   The Norwegian Man In Black is on a Delta Blues blender.

“Reinterpreting tracks from his first two albums Torgeir guarantees this isn’t recycling, promising fans will discover something new in these songs. Either way, for fans or novices, there is a lot on offer.”

Following a blues oriented debut and a heavy fused sophomore effort, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant journeyed to Bron-y-Aur to write Led Zeppelin’s third record. “It felt right for the album to have a rocky side and a folky side” Page reflected to The Guardian in 2014, and there’s a nice diversity of flavours on both sides of Led Zeppelin III (1970). Torgeir Waldemar follows a similar discipline on his third studio record, reinterpreting tracks from his first two albums Torgeir Waldemar (2014) and No Offending Borders (2017), the first three acoustically, the latter two with electric guitars. His album guarantees this isn’t recycling, promising fans will discover something new in these songs. Either way, for fans or novices, there is a lot on offer.

Titled Jamais Vu (the literal opposite to Deja Vú- self-explanatory!), The Norwegian Man In Black is on a Delta Blues blender, he would have been made welcome in Laurel Canyon with The Byrds and The Mamas and The Papas. Blasting the louder Take Me Home as effectively as he brings the nuanced folk lyricism Among The Low forward. He’s a soaring guitar player, Home rollicking and roaring with sonic excitement. “The electric guitar has been a part of my life since I started to play in bands” Waldemar admitted to RushOnRock in 2017.  “So it was just a matter of time when it would be incorporated in the Waldemar sound.” He has his own trademark sound alright, switching genre nicely.

Waldemar has a strong voice, commanding even at its most delicate moments. Sylvia is particularly intimate, romantic in the extreme, a vulnerability rarely heard on rock records. “Listen to the song, Sylvia” he cries into his microphone, the helplessness of early seventies love-lost licencing (Angie, Layla, Maybe I’m Amazed etc) here. It’s a strong re-invention, perhaps stronger than Blue Oyster Cult tinted original release and the real stand-out on the project.

Streets is the other standout, commencing with a riff Jack White would be lucky to play, this is vintage Exile On Main Street rock, Waldemar’s guitar styling reminiscent of the Mick Taylor playing, the instrumental bridge a perennial repeat. And Summer In Toulouse, though musically uninteresting, shows a penchant for poetry, the opening verse “Rivets popping all around us, Whistling ‘round our ears, Down for a dime, down for damnation, As they beg and tear, let you hate, make you fear” particularly elegiac.

“Songs never stand still, at least not for me” Waldemar writes. “They want to go on. After some years of playing them live, many have moved far away from where their starting point was.” There’s little doubt Plant and Page wouldn’t disagree with that statement.


   Jamais Vu by Torgeir Waldemar released by Jansen Records, 9 March 2018. Click here to order digital album, CD or limited edition LP.

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