Acclaimed Norwegian singer-songwriter Anneli Drecker releases her stunning, fourth studio album, Revelation for Personal Use, to worldwide audiences on May 19. This time around, it's only been a two-year wait since her previous solo album, the exquisite Rocks & Straws (2015), on which Anneli embarked on creating a different, more personal and somewhat cinematic soundscape than her previous, pop-oriented albums, Tundra (2000) and Frolic (2005). In the musical sense, Revelation for Personal Use sounds very much like an extension or epilogue to Rocks & Straws, again with all music on the new album composed by Anneli. Lyrically as well, the songs are again structured around translated poems of Norwegian poet Arvid Hanssen (1932-1998), with a few words and phrases changed by Anneli, "all in the best faith and for art’s sake" (according to the album’s liner notes).
For those who might not be familiar with Anneli Drecker, she is probably most well-known as a member of the iconic Norwegian arctic electronica band Bel Canto, who had several hit singles in the alternative music charts in 80's and 90’s, and recorded six studio albums between 1987-2002. Others might recognize her distinctive voice from collaborations with fellow Norwegian bands A-ha and Röyksopp (e.g., "Sparks"). Her unique, unmistakable vocals are immediately recognizable to the listener – charming, delicate and heavenly; with an ability to seize and deliver the splendor of the higher octaves in such a graceful, elegant and emotional manner.
The opening track on Revelation for Personal Use, "Blue Evening", establishes the atmosphere of the album from the outset. With a predominance of elegant string arrangements and contemplative piano arpeggios, the song is spacious and beautiful, decorated with Anneli's pure, poetic vocals. "Sun-Wave" is a notable standout track that continues in a similar musical vein, and is evocative of the atmosphere of Rocks & Straws' "Circulating Light". The dramatic, orchestral opening of "Days" reminds me a bit of the buildup of "Ocean's Organ" (also from Rocks & Straws).
Across the eight tracks, you’ll hear a lot more than strings and piano - there are a few, lesser-used, more traditional instruments that make an appearance, including the mouth organ, dulcimer, shoor and igil (I had to Google a few of them!). These all subtly contribute to the somewhat classical and epic sound of the album. Beyond all the beautiful instruments that present these compositions, the most elegant component is, of course, Anneli's voice – angelic, soft and soaring, alternating from gentle to strong - the perfect instrument to guide us through the journey of these beautiful poems.
Out of all the tracks, "Raindrops" is by far my favorite. With a gorgeous string opening, this song gently builds and breaches pop song territory with its bright, rolling, melodic flow and optimistic tempo. It feels like experiencing the first rays of sunshine after a long rain. The track is the first single from the album, and has a stunning, accompanying music video, directed by Eilif Bremer Landsend, that was filmed in the Namibian desert.
ANNELI DRECKER "Raindrops" (Official Music Video)