The Northern Belle – We Wither, We Bloom (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 41:36 minutes | 458 GM | Genre: Country
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Die With Your Boots On Records
Written as an examination of personal relationships, the new album by The Northern Belle is aptly titled We Wither, We Bloom. The Norwegian septet is among the pioneers of the nordicana scene that has been gaining momentum in the US the last few years. Fronted by prolific singer-songwriter Stine Andreassen (also of folk quartet Silver Lining) and armed with pedal steel, slide guitar, lush harmonies, a string quartet and their secret weapon, the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle, The Northern Belle have developed their own unique brew of pop-oriented americana and folk music. Imagine Fleetwood Mac fronted by Jenny Lewis in a country mood.
Brimming with melodic tunes and clever lyrics, We Wither We Bloom is the band’s third studio album, albeit the first to be released internationally. Having made the difficult decision to quit her day job to pursue music, Andreassen and The Northern Belle received widespread praise and a Spellemann nomination (Norwegian Grammy) for the 2018 album Blinding Blue Neon. In the spring of 2019, Andreassen traveled to Nashville for three months to write the follow-up. The welcoming and thriving music scene found east of the Cumberland River sparked a creative songwriting spell that resulted in this inspired collection of tracks. The distance from home allowed for new views on friends, family, love, loss and homesickness, resulting in the band’s most personal album to date.
The songs vary in tempo and style, from the melodic rocker “Gemini” to the string-laden “Born to Be a Mother”. “Remember It” is a fiery tell-off to a horrible ex (“I wanna hurt you and remember it”), “Tailor Made” is a tribute to the band’s Nudie suit-wearing heroes of the past, while “Late Bloomer” in a way sums up the album title – a song about taking time before daring to pursue music.
“I’ve struggled with the feeling of not being good enough, being labeled because I’m a woman and that I should have had kids already and that the clock is ticking. I’ve destroyed friendships and made new ones, but I’m left with feeling stronger than before because I’ve confronted the things that hurt in my songs,” says Andreassen, who has written the bulk of the album with a few contributions from local Nashville songwriters.
Constantly evolving as a band, The Northern Belle’s sound in 2020 is inspired by contemporary acts such as Erin Rae, Kacey Musgraves, Phoebe Bridgers and Marit Larsen, as well as legends such The Beach Boys, The Byrds and Glen Campbell. All resulting in a record that pays tribute to its inspirations while also showing true originality.
1. The Northern Belle – Gemini
2. The Northern Belle – Remember It
3. The Northern Belle – How Deep
4. The Northern Belle – Tailor Made
5. The Northern Belle – Late Bloomer
6. The Northern Belle – Born to Be a Mother
7. The Northern Belle – Two Minds
8. The Northern Belle – Lonely
9. The Northern Belle – No Clue
10. The Northern Belle – Evelyn
11. The Northern Belle – Love of Mine
12. The Northern Belle – We Wither, We Bloom