Einar Stray is back to entertain us together with his band, under a new name and with a more epic-sounding album that is a tale of the transition from the innocence of childhood to the turmoils of youth and adulthood beyond.
Having played together for more than 4 years now, the Oslo-based collective felt it was about time to acknowledge the band as a whole, hence the new name. As Einar Stray Orchestra, the five-piece has released its latest record Politricks recently (on Norwegian label Riot Factory).
Maturing into adulthood and all that that entails is one of the themes of the album, most specifically questioning long-held childhood beliefs and coming to terms with the disillusionment that might arise as you make up your own version of what you’ve been taught over your formative years.
Questioning, rebelling, realisations
Politricks is about shattered dreams, questioning, rebelling, reaffirming and realisations. It starts its journey with the dark and moody 8-minute ‘Honey’, before moving onto a more up-beat title-track ‘Politricks’ which pinpoints the perceptions of adolesence. The album’s themes are continued perhaps from a more relatively sunny perspective on tracks like ‘Monteal’ and ‘Pockets Full of Holes’ (although that might be questionable with the latter’s repetitive lyrics of ‘Will I die inside, before I die’).
Creating progressive multi-instramental folk sounds one minute to epic soundscapes the next comes naturally to these musicians. The band started out with no guitars, wanting the violin and cello to work the strings in a new way, and has Einar on keys with his recognisable voice teaming up with Lars Fremmerlid (drums), Ofelia Østrem Ossum (cello), Simen Aasen (bass) and Åsa Ree (violin). The new album does use electric guitar in its rocking-out moments and yet can be delicate and completely stripped-back, such as in the acapella version of a modern-day protest song (‘For The Country’).
The follow-up to the critically-acclaimed 2011 release, Politricks sees a familiar indie-pop sound crafted into a more mature, layered sonic vehicle. To coincide with the new album’s launch, the band members worked on a documentary (with director Jørgen Nordby) where its themes are further investigated, with four tracks from the album being performed in a church that has childhood connotations for the band.
Yet don’t think this orchestral five-piece is only comfortable playing in churches – rock clubs seem to be more likened to where the band members are coming from and may be even seen as a more appropriate location for performing their songs, as discussed in this recent interview prior to the band’s appearance at the Reeperbahn festival in Hamburg.
Einar Stray Orchestra live at Nordic Delight festival
At the upcoming Nordic Delight Festival on 4 October in Utrecht, the members of the Einar Stray Orchestra will be getting their aggressions out, and perhaps doing a bit of blashpheming here and there, as they once again take to the stage in a church, this time the Nicolaikerk in Utrecht Centraal Museum. It’s not too late to get tickets to this festival – which not only has music but films, talks and food all with a Nordic slant on the agenda! Be quick though, before the tickets are all snapped up – visit the website here.