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.
The front cover art for Follow Me Home, the ninth album by Oslo, Norway’s I Was A King (Coastal Town Recordings, Oct. 28) displays dotted lines that correspond to colorful cutouts on the back cover, one for each of the album’s twelve 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.
“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.”
Norwegian duo I Was A King debuts stark “Growing Wild” video for latest single from upcoming ninth album “Follow Me Home,” out Oct. 28.