June 27, 2023

With expansive studio albums and captivating live shows, it’s safe to say that Spurv have left an indelible impression on the international post-rock scene over the past decade. This Norwegian sextet has released 3 stellar albums thus far, but their new record Brefjære, released on 22nd September (Pelagic Records) opens up a whole new dimension in terms of composition, musicianship, scope and production.

Brefjære combines the orchestral grandeur of MONO with the wistful textures of This Will Destroy You and the Scandinavian mysticism of Sigur Rós. An oratorio for a world in despair with which Spurv redefine the boundaries of symphonic rock and post-rock, finding beauty and solace in the intersection of time, nature, history, and humanity.

SPURV!

“I recently moved to Tromsø in the far north above the polar circle,” says main-songwriter Gustav Jørgen Pedersen about the origins of Brefjære. “One day I looked out the window where I see the mountains and the birch trees and I found myself wondering, if they could speak, what would they be telling each other?” 

Thus, a mythical conversation between the wind, a mountain, a birch tree and a butterfy was born inspired by classical traditions such as Greek tragedies and the oratorios of the Baroque, but also by the musical journey of Spurv itself. “This album contains elements even from before we started Spurv back in 2011. Some of these ideas I’ve been working on for over 10 years” continues Pedersen, divulging how Brefjære is a result of a decade-long process as much as a contemporary snapshot.

Overall, Brefjære is an exercise in reconsiling postmodern relativity and genre-bending with classical composition techniques. The way the vibraphone arpeggios ebb and fow behind the fast-chugging guitars to slowly lead up to the final theme on ‘En brennende vogn over jordet’ testifes to a dynamic sensitivity that is unseen in this kind of music. Likewise, the way the bass completely has its own life on ‘Som skyer’ shows Pedersen’s approach to his bandmates’ parts is closer to that of an orchestra than a rock band. In fact, the moments in which instruments play in unison are quite rare throughout Brefjære, but when they do, for example on the thunderous main theme of ‘Til en ny vår’, it is to full efect.

Commenting on new single Å’ vente er å endre’, the band add, “Although very short, “Å vente er å endre” is in a sense a concentrate of the whole album: dramatic noise, emotional melodies and – what is new for this album – a vocal driven narrative about time, history, and the nature of existence. The track embodies one of the four characters of “Brefjære”, the butterfly, or more specifically biston betularia, gracefully performed by our friend Tåran Reindal of Leonov. The video by Kristoffer Klunk Nyborg and Henrik Berge is the perfect visual accompagnement to the song, setting the mood for the rest of the album while it develops the aesthetic world of Spurv.” 

Watch the video for Å vente er å endre below!

Pedersen likens the recording process at Paradiso Studios in Oslo to a workshop rather than a rock band working in the studio. “A great number of players were involved in the creation and the only stable factor in that process was producer Jørgen Smådal Larsen. In fact, I don’t think there has been one moment in which the whole band was present in the studio at the same time, so he is defnitely the person who has been holding it all together.” The level of intricacy on Brefjære is breathtaking and seemingly matches the architecture of cathedrals and concert halls in which many oratorios used to be performed. With Pedersen as the architect and Larsen as the master builder, the four characters of Brefjære appear as four pillars on which this impressive building is rested.

From its immaculate conception during an unsuspecting gaze out of the window to the extensive pro- cess of its creation, Brefjære is a work of art that brings together the temporal and the eternal both in music and in poetry, revealing the universal truth that we are all equally everlasting and equally ephemeral. From the humble solo vocal performances against huge droning notes of ‘Under himmel- hvelvingen’ and ‘Å vente er å endre’ to the magnifcent celestial melodies of ‘Som skyer’ and ‘Til en ny vår’ Brefjære touches feetingly and eternally on that imperishable quality that Spurv are dying to bring with their music. A sonic saga for the ages.

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Pre-orders begin on Friday 2nd June from – https://pelagic-records.com

FOR FANS OF Godspeed You! Black Emperor, MONO, Sigur Ros, This Will Destroy You, EF, BRUIT≤, Russian Circles

LINEUP

Spurv

Gustav Jørgen Pedersen – electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocal on #4, percussion Herman Otterlei – electric guitar

Hans-Jakob Jeremiassen – bass

Simon Ljung – drums

Eirik Ørevik Aadland – electric guitar, lap steel guitar, glockenspiel, trumpet, Simen Eifring – trombone, percussion

Guest musicians

Tåran Reindal (Leonov) – vocal on #6 Jørgen Bagheera Apeness – vibraphone Kari Rønnekleiv – violin

Ole-Henrik Moe – violin, viola, cello, picoletto violin Inger Hannisdal – solo violin on #2 and #7

Choir – Margrethe Lunde, Marthe Ødegård Olsen, Sanna Emilie Jensen Karlsrud, Kari Lisa Eide, Astrid Wøllo, Hege Nesset, Julia Nelson, Juliane Lauen Singstad, Linn Gaustadnes Hansen, David Sidi John Bakke, Tobias Føyen, Tor Haakon Bekkevold, Gustav Jørgen Pedersen, Eirik Ørevik Aadland.