SVER – Reverie (Folkhall Records FHR002CD)

ReverieIn celebration of their ten years as a quintet, SVER release their fourth album, Reverie. Recorded live over two days and steeped in Nordic tradition, SVER’s tight-knit musicianship, versatility and sense of sheer enjoyment simply shines through. The band may describe their sound as ‘folk-rock’ but it gleefully transcends obvious categorisation.

SVER’s band members – Olav Luksengård Mjelva (fiddle/hardanger fiddle), Anders Hall (fiddle/viola), Leif Ingvar Ranøien (two row accordion), Adam Johansson (guitar) and Jens Linell (drums) – share an astonishing quality of flow and interplay, smoothly passing melodic phrases and thematic variations, seamlessly and gently leading the listener’s focus from one instrument to another.

Mjelva and Hall (familiar from their Nordic Fiddlers Bloc collaboration with Kevin Henderson) create a pair of delightfully dextrous polkas in each other’s honour. Mjelva embellishes Sjur Viken’s twisting, lively, ‘Lille Grisen’ (‘The Little Pig’), its lithe, taut fiddle pivoting around the drums. In contrast, Andreas Bjørkås’s ‘Lassi’ is an angular, muscular beast of loose, bending notes and a slurring fiddle phrase.

Guitarist Johansson’s ‘E14’ (the name of the road to his home, rather than Canary Wharf’s postcode) is beaty but mellow, the pace gradually accelerating with the joy of returning home, including some rather funky guitar and, unusually, a fade-out. His ‘Annas Vals’ is equally hard to define, with different instruments carrying the slow and tender air by turns, as the rest slide softly around it. The cacophonic clatter of ‘Boot’N Rally’ opens out into a pure, clean guitar that lures the listener onwards to an irresistibly wiggly dance tune.

Mjelva takes on the remaining composition honours, starting with a sweetly rolling tune for his girlfriend, ‘The Doctor’. ‘Batch 15’ is a tight little jig whose woozily reflective mid-point (that moment when you get a bit head-spinny, realise that your legs don’t work any more and order another pint anyway) goes on to ramp the energy back again with a masterful control of pace. The contemplative ‘Reverie’ is probably as dark as this album gets, but is followed by a most light-hearted homage to 70s tv show The Love Boat. A slow fiddle, joined by accordion and guitar, plays a variation on the show’s theme tune, any brief illusion of tastefulness rapidly evaporating in an explosive jazz-rock finale loaded with extra cheese.

Su O’Brien

Artists’ website: www.sverfolk.com/en

‘The Doctor’:

SVER – Norwegian folk music with relentless energy and seductive spark!

Fryd

Since the group’s inception in 2008, SVER have gone from strength to strength, playing extensively throughout Europe and gaining a reputation as one of the most acclaimed live acts in the Nordic folk scene. Norwegian/Swedish SVER play epic Nordic folk music with relentless energy and seductive spark taking you on a fantastic musical journey that will not disappoint. Ranging from the very dreamy to a swinging, pounding and sweaty madness – you are invited to the party, greeted by a welcoming primal force that pulls you into the dance.

August 2015 sees the eagerly anticipated release of Fryd, the long awaited follow up to the critically acclaimed album Fruen released in 2010. The new release sees SVER in superb form playing an eclectic mix of music including breathtaking Hallings, thrilling Reinlanders and false Waltzes.

Fryd was released in Scandinavia in April this year, and the positive reviews have been overwhelming!

A triumph for SVER” – Bjørn Hammershaug, Folkemusikk.

Irresistible groove/…/ One of the best folk music groups on our latitudes right now/…/ With this album, the band takes a huge climb in their development”. Lars Lind, Lira.

“Tight, precise and swinging, they rage forward….” Nils Thorlund, Rootszone.

SVER was formed in 2002 by the two Norwegians in the band, Olav L Mjelva and Leif Ingvar Ranøien. They released their first album in 2007 together with Vidar Berge on guitar.

In 2008 the Swedes Jens Linell and Anders Hall joined the band. They started touring extensively around Europe and SVER´s second album Fruen was released in 2010. The past four years SVER has cooperated successfully with the Swedish dancehall-vocalist Snakka San and had several hits on Scandinavian radio charts.

The band´s members are all well-known in the Nordic folk music scene with solo careers and other projects. The fiddler Olav Luksengård Mjelva has won the “Spellemannprisen”, Norway’s Grammy awards, and he also got the prize for “Folk Musician of the Year” in 2013.

Olav and Anders Hall also play in The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, a trio with Kevin Henderson from Shetland, and they have been touring extensively throughout the UK, Europe and the US the past years. SVER has often been described as “sounding electric without electricity”. They have played several times in the UK and last year at Orkney Folk Festival:

 “Among the other visiting acts, Norwegian/Swedish instrumental five-piece Sver caused perhaps the biggest buzz, matching exquisite virtuosity with exuberant playfulness and terrific rhythmic drive…” – Sue Wilson, The Scotsman

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Artists’ website: www.sverfolk.com

Here’s a preview of the new album: