*The Following Press Release Was Issued By FANATIC*
Ninth album by I Was A King — out now — called “melancholy,” “brooding,” and “harmony-laden… catchy indie rock.” — Brooklyn Vegan
See “impeccable,” “abrasively beautiful” video for “Growing Wild” single via MAGNET.
I Was A King (L-R Anne Lise Frøkedal, Frode Strømstad) as photographed by Donald Milne
I Was A King | “Growing Wild”
See the video for “Growing Wild” by I Was A King at MAGNET here or listen at Brooklyn Vegan here or at the links above.
“The more time I spend with this song, the more I’m almost frightened by how incredible it is.” — Austin Town Hall
“We used a couple of more traditional folk instruments on ‘Growing Wild,’” says Frode Strømstad of I Was A King about the Norwegian duo’s latest single. “The song describes living alongside darkness and chaos, but also summoning the courage to face it. There is an element of comfort in the phrase: ‘just like you, I’m not afraid.’”
About the video for the song, Strømstad explains, “Back in August, we played a small show in a biker garage in our hometown and our good friend Donald Milne came over from Scotland to film the show. The idea of making this video came out of a happy accident, as a lightning storm hit us toward end of the night and the lamps and power at the garage started flickering before it went all black.
“Donald made us go back there early next morning when the power was back on and he got some more shots of us that blended in nicely with the clips he made night before. One of the bikers was there, too, and helped with swinging the ceiling lamp back and forth while Donald was filming.”
I Was A King
Follow Me Home LP
(Coastal Town Recordings)
STREAM FULL LP
01. All This Time
03. Follow Me Home (STREAM)
04. Growing Wild (STREAM | VIDEO)
05. Here At Last (STREAM)
06. Know The Way
09. Lo Pressure (STREAM)
10. Getting Colder
11. Sweet Things (STREAM)
12. Wood & Stone
I Was A King | About
The front cover art for Follow Me Home, the ninth album by Oslo, Norway’s I Was A King (Coastal Town Recordings, Out Now) displays dotted lines that correspond to colorful cutouts on the back cover, one for each of the album’s 12 songs.
This is an innocent, childlike prompt to play it like a puzzle, literally, but on a more figurative note, this bit of fun also feels like a suggestion to fill in the blanks on what these songs mean to the listener.
Album opener “All This Time” is a just shy of two-minute prologue, foreshadowing the bits of melancholy carried throughout the album, fully realized on the following cut “Down.”
from the ground
but you’re still dreaming of the sound
when the shadow calls
breathing down your neck
awaiting a response
The feelings these lyrics evoke are moving, delivered with the insistent, singular-sounding combined voices of the band’s co-writers Frode Strømstad and Anne Lise Frøkedal, and bringing about that deep understanding of shared human condition that, even when packaged in the few minutes of a pop-rock song, is powerful enough to move mountains (and navigate fjords!)
In the case of I Was A King, the band has been around long enough to navigate without a map. Follow Me Home is clearly the sound of hard-won confidence.
Formed by Strømstad in 2006, with its debut album released in 2007, I Was A King continued at a steady pace for the next seven years, appearing on almost as many record labels throughout. Some may say the band’s sound went through just as many iterations during this time.
2009’s self-titled sophomore album featured contributions from Sufjan Stevens and Gary Olson of The Ladybug Transistor (on the Follow Me Home single “Growing Wild,” you’ll be reminded of Sufjan’s banjo flourishes mixed with the opening notes of a Sonic Youth tune.)
2010’s Old Friends brought elements of Big Star and The Stooges into the mix and in 2012 indie rock icons Robyn Hitchcock and Norman Blake (of Teenage Fanclub) came on board to co-produce and perform on the band’s major label debut You Love It Here.
Following 2014’s Isle of Yours, I Was A King finally took a respite before returning for 2018’s Slow Century. 2020’s Grand Hotel followed.
2022’s Follow Me Home is perfectly titled. The album feels like kicking up your feet in front of the fire after a long journey that was trying, but filled with experience.
In reality, that warm fire would have likely been welcomed during the Follow Me Home recording sessions.
“We recorded Follow Me Home in December of 2021 in a building that had been a very important hub for Norwegian music over the last 20 years,” Strømstad explains. “While we were making the album, the building was emptied and the heat and water shut off. It has since been demolished.”
Even under these considerably less-than-ideal circumstances, Strømstad and Frøkedal managed to make another reality of the time – producing these recordings during a lockdown – work to their advantage. The minimal take on the sound that I Was A King had been traveling towards all this time is its strongest asset on Follow Me Home.
“The previous two records were very band-oriented,” Strømstad says. “We felt that doing it as a two-piece this time would be a fresh approach, playing instruments we normally don’t play just to get some different ideas and textures and keeping it as simple and organic as possible.”
With Follow Me Home, Strømstad and Frøkedal had to fill in the blank spots in their process, just like the art that adorns the album cover. When the audience places the pieces, a colorful image emerges.
Follow Me Home, the ninth album by Oslo, Norway’s I Was A King, is out now via their own label Coastal Town Recordings.
I Was A King | Links