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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 165 - 02/28/10

Dan Kristofferson
It's Cold Tonight
Nordic Records

Norwegians are strong on melancholy, and Dan Kristofferson's debut album is a welcome addition to our fine selection of artists of the arctic blue. At first Kristofferson's voice may seem a little self-affected, changing between tender falsetto and hoarse whispers. The latter's more low-pitched and toned down parts remind me of Chris Rea, while the falsetto makes it easy to think of fellow Norwegian Thomas Dybdahl. Kristofferson also has a rather deep vibrato, which on occasion may sound like Elvis mimickery, but elsewhere Scott Walker is probably a better comparison, though few can (or has the desire to) follow Walker's excesses in that regard.

Kristofferson's songs sound very personal to me, and that taken together with his singing style, can make enjoying this album from beginning to end an acquired taste, both aesthetically and emotionally. I feel the melancholy pushing on sentimentality on occasions, but others may of course disagree here. There is anyway no doubt that Kristofferson's song-writing skills are top notch, most melodies dance an inch or two away from the more common blueprints and the album's highlights are immediate and engaging. Of the few songs not soaked in melancholy, the slightly psychedelic "A Cure" stands out as a most welcome break. On the blue side, the album peaks with the superb opening track "These Times" and "I Believe", which touches Keane or Coldplay in their better moments. Overall, a very impressive debut album, if you're not afraid of a little sadness.

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