After a five year wait, acclaimed art rockers White Willow return with their latest studio opus and a newer rhythm section. Anchored by perennial guitarist/main songwriter Jacob Holm-Lupo and long-time singer Sylvia Skjellestad (formerly Sylvia Erichsen), these Norwegian sound sculptors deliver the kind of atmospheric and often tranquil musical meditations that may not rock out like their more metallic contemporaries, but they still invoke intensity through discordant contrasts, psychedelic shifts, Gothic undertones and edgy guitar solos.
Debuting here at A.D.D. is “Red Leaves,” a haunting ballad from White Willow’s forthcoming Terminal Twilight CD that possesses dark undercurrents. Starting off with a slightly melancholic feeling and beguiling vocal harmonies, it later breaks into a powerful solo section before shifting into dreamier territory. There’s even a touch of Bjork in Skjellestad’s singing. The way the track transforms is indicative of how the album unpredictably unfolds.
White Willow have been considered an integral part of the international progressive music scene since their 1995 debut Ignis Fatuus emerged. While they have a penchant for performing epic songs, they also know how to condense their ideas into smaller morsels. Four of the tracks on Terminal Twilight are around five minutes or less; one of them is an instrumental. Given their diverse influences and the subtle shifting of their sonic landscapes, White Willow combine old school progressive musicianship with more modern tendencies towards genre-crossing. The combination clicks.