Paal Angelskaar – The King Of Pop Melancholy

Paal Angelskaar © Per Ole HagenPaal Angelskaar was the songwriter and singer in the Norwegian band Minor Majority. Ten years after they started out he releases his first solo CD, Follow Me. Wednesday he held the release concert at the Rockefeller Music hall in Norway.

Paal Angelskaar © Per Ole HagenMinor Majority’s signature was pop songs with a distinct melancholy touch. With songs like Supergirl, She GaveI It Away, The Dark Half and The Long Way Home, they established themselves with a dedicated fan base. With the combination of Paal Angelskaar characteristic and also moody voice and a band that know how to strip down the musical ideas to the bare essentials, they got a sound that was easy distinguishable from much of the other music that was around.

Paal Angelskaar, Lise Soerensen © Per Ole HagenMartin Andersen, Pal Angelskaar, Lise Soerensen

Paal Angelskaar solo is in many ways an extension of Minor Majority, but at the same time he has a news sound that is different from the old. His two main assets – the songwriting and his voice is the obvious center of attention at the concert, and also on the CD.

Lise Soerensen © Per Ole HagenLise Soerensen

What I liked at the concert was the way Angelskaar and the 6 piece band built up the performance. They started out without drums, and with a folksy sound, Then about halfway, they introduced drums, and the last song before the encores sounded almost like a rock song.

Martin Andersen, Paal Angelskar, Lise Soerensen © Per Ole HagenMartin Andersen, Paal Angelskaar and Lise Soerensen

The set list consisted of a mix of new songs from  Follow Me, and songs from the Minor Majority catalogue. The new songs sound very promising, but I have to listen more thoroughly to know them better. But songs like the title song and This Season Knows Your Name are strong songs that will grow with more listening. The band had a loose sound, and specially when  the drummer came on, they sounded a bit like Wilco and other Americana bands. Also the Minor Majority songs worked perfect in this setting.

Paal Angelskaar © Per Ole HagenThe audience was attentive and recognized all the old songs. This was a seated concert, and that works well for an artists who puts much emphasis on the lyrics. He told the story behind the title of the CD. Once when he translated Leonard Cohen, he saw a self-portrait by Cohen where he looked a bit dour, and where the title was something like “I didn’t get the girl, I never got rich, Follow Me”

Lise Soerensen © Per Ole HagenLise Soerensen

All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.

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