Glenn Meling is an independent songwriter from Oslo whose deep, somewhat niche interest in the journeys of countrymen travelling the U.S.A has translated into an album of Americana, new wave and rock inspired tunes. Where his previous album Melingrad, released in 2007, was made in a Norwegian boathouse in one of the fjords near Bergen, his latest album Minnesota takes a sizeable step away from his home country to paint his experience of the States.
The album opens with ‘Alive’, a fuzz-laden soundscape that eases into an Edge-inspired guitar riff before finally making the decision to settle as a soft-rock tune. In fact, the U2 influence runs deep across this album; from Meling’s uncannily Bono-resembling vocals to the soaring atmospheres occupied by many of the album’s choruses (‘Secret Flower’ and ‘Free’ being two of the more memorable examples). However, this is not to say that Meling is without his own identity; ‘Far Away From Home’ feels as raw as it does honest, and succeeds as the album’s decidedly stripped-back moment:
“I’m falling like snowflakes/I’m falling from grace. I’m wailing in sorrow/I’m so lost and far away from home”.
Atop its delicately played piano, the track is lined with ethereal backing vocals and swelling strings which create a rich and emotional atmosphere unrivalled by few other songs on the album.
Track five ‘America’ takes Minnesota back to its rock roots, riding off a heavy, guitar-driven groove before slipping into a high-rising, melodic chorus, while ‘The Good I See In You’ is a sparse slow-burning three minutes, featuring a solitary trumpet that accompanies Meling’s vocal lines. It is an unexpected song to say the least, but with its clever arrangement ‘The Good I See In You’ manages to be one of the most interesting tracks on the record, proving that Meling is an artist who should not be pinned down to any one sound. Minnesota is an engaging album that offers a range of tastes.