Les Imprimés - Reverie
Until this week, my favourite Norwegian musician called Morten was Morten Harket, singer of the quite marvellous A-ha. He probably is still your favourite Norwegian musician full stop, even now (unless you're one of those weirdos who preferred Paul or Magne....).
And liking Morten Harket is a very reasonable choice in life. A-ha had some splendidly OTT synth-pop hits in the 80s (I really find it quite hard to like anyone who claims I've Been Losing You is not simply great). He's also a great sport, appearing with Channel 4's Armstrong & Miller Show for their Farmers' Market comedy song..."The Farmers' Market, the Farmers' Market...I'm no more a farmer than Morten Harket"...splendid stuff...
But on a day trip to Brighton, I visited the excellent Resident Music, whose staff were raving about this album: Reverie by Les Imprimés. I had never heard of them, but I loved the cover, which reminded me of Can's Monster Movie...
So I took a chance, and bought the record. Haven't done this for ages, but they were so glowing about it, I took a punt. And what a good punt this was.
Les Imprimés are in fact Morten Martens, a Norwegian multi-instrumentalist and singer, signed to Big Crown Records. And my new favourite Norwegian musician called Morten.
Although this is his debut as Les Imprimés, he has in fact been making records for years, including hip-hop, with nods to r'n'b, gospel and more.
Covid gave him the chance to really focus on Les Imprimés and create this quite perfect 60s/70s soul album, with nods to doo-wop, and hip-hop inspired percussion. He's no Morten Harket when it comes to the vocals, but that's a good thing. His understated voice complements rather than distracts from the brilliant music.
It's a gorgeous album, that bears repeat listens (I think I have played it ten times since I bought it yesterday). It's not the cheeriest stuff, clearly a break-up album with tracks like It's Over and Love & Flowers. Resident Music hit the nail on the head with their description of a new niche sub-genre - "happy break-up tunes".
My only criticism? It needs a few more upbeat numbers - Our Love and Love & Flowers come close...but Morten needs something that drags you out to the dance floor? But this is just nit-picking - it's a warm, infectious, understated and classy album. And well worth a listen.