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Bjørn Riis – Coming Home album review

Stripped down mini-album from Airbag guitarist.

Bjørn Riis is the co-founder and guitarist of Norwegian prog kings Airbag, but since 2014, he’s also been carving out a niche for himself as a solo artist. But if the music of Airbag tends towards the lush and panoramic, an aerial view of the fjords by the light of the Aurora Borealis, the songs on Coming Home evoke the hardships of a lonely traveller in a harsh landscape, battling the elements as he nears his destination. With its churchy organ drone, tremoloed guitar and lonely electric piano, instrumental opener Daybreak is in the gloriously chilly tradition of Wish You Were Here. ‘I’ve been out there floating among the stars,’ Riis intones tenderly on the title track, his voice and strummed acoustic guitar as beautifully gloomy as a Nordic winter, before a squalling, Gilmour-esque solo kicks up a storm. Everything here is stripped down like a slowcore version of prog, an impression reinforced by the Low-like Drowning, which features a luminous duet with Norwegian singer Sichelle. It ends with a new recording of Lullabies In A Car Crash, its elegant, dancing guitar a guttering flame in the dark. A sombre but necessary tonic for the winter months.