‘No One Knows That You’re Lost’ is the new album from upcoming Norwegian singer-songwriter, Tina Refsnes.
On her return to Oslo after a four-year stint in Liverpool, during which she honed her song-writing skills, Refsnes found her musical mojo and muse in the form of Bahamas and Feist producer, Robbie Lackritz, and set off again from Oslo, this time to Toronto, to track him down. Having found and cajoled him into working with her, Refsnes was paired off with trusted Lackritz collaborator, Eirik Stordrange, and together with a couple of musicians, they locked themselves away in a one room studio for a period of three weeks, during which the full album was laid down.
“During her time in Liverpool, she had a growing sensation of being unable to find the right expression for her writing, so she learned to take her time, saving up her songs so that one day she would be able to do it her way.”
Refsnes’ warm, inviting voice, has a gorgeous Scandi timbre, and her music, a quirky, laid-back, warmly inviting sound. With a deep rooted love for the sea and mountains that edge her native home, the tiny village of Floro, (situated on the western reaches of Norway, some 230km north of Bergen) and citing Neil Young and Laura Marling as influences, it is easy to see how the foundation for this album was laid.
Leading with a peaceful, Folk-Americana vibe, Refsnes album is a refreshing change from the jangling guitars or electronic thump that pervade most mainstream radio plays.
“Always fascinated with space in a recording, Tina’s favourite listening experiences were always when you could hear also the person behind the performance – breaths, creaks in floor boards, an out of place thud from strumming your guitar slightly wrong. Therefore, when recording the album, she wanted the listener to get a physical sense of the distance between him/her and an awareness of where the performer was situated within the room.”
The debut single, ‘I Don’t Know’, is a sweet and uplifting song created using the tried and tested classic formula of catchy hook, pleasing melody, delightful harmonies and a good beat. Refsnes has taken her love of picturesque tranquility and teased it gently into relaxed, soothing music. Her sincere vocal is perfectly matched by the mellowness of cyclical acoustic-guitar lines and soft-jazz brushed drums.
‘Leave this Heart’ is pure LeAnn Rimes country. A regretful ballad about a failed love affair, sung with heartfelt sincerity, it is standard Nashville fair. Idly strummed guitar dawdles along in-between slow-time beats and slack percussion, interrupted every now and then by some sparkling piano chords.
Refsnes’ voice comes into its own on ‘Upside Down Clouds’. Lyrically and sonically very strong, it explores the themes of growth and discovery. Serious in attitude, with a dark hue, it’s one of the best tracks on the album. ‘Told’ follows suit, with it’s keen observations of life and the aging process, expressively vocalised with humour and humanity. This is a lovely melodic concoction with some tenderly sung harmonies and soothing guitar chords.
‘Alaska’ harks back to Refsnes’ love of the peace and tranquility of the picturesque landscape she grew up surrounded by. It’s a subtly nuanced work, combining little more than heartfelt words and some splendidly played guitars.
‘No One Knows That You’re Lost’ is a beautifully simple, organically crafted album of eleven tracks shining with love, hope, and happiness, in which Refsnes’ keen observations on life, nature, and humanity, are warmly and truthfully expressed. Yes, there are forlorn moments, but overall the effect is peaceful, pleasing, and mood enhancing. Not afraid to veer away from the masses, Refsnes has carved out a quirky, mellow sonic niche to suit her heartfelt, expressive song-writing. The best word that could be used to describe Refsnes, outside of talented and honest, is natural. Her music is simply, “natural”.
The album “No One Knows That You’re Lost” is available from 6th November 2015: http://www.tinarefsnes.com