My first thought was, ‘This album title sounds like a movie.’
And in my head, it’s spoken with a deep voice.
However, that’s a world away from the warm and groovy contents of Neo-soul quartet White Ascot‘s debut album Pink Blood / False Memory. Still, it remains an ambiguous title but not wholly unexpected. Fellow Norwegian Neo-soul band Fieh‘s debut album, titled Cold Water Burning Skin, also sparked the imagination.
And just like Fieh – White Ascot deliver an album to confirm their place in Norway’s neo-soul founders’ history book.
Pink Blood / False Memory contains ten songs, all written and produced by the band. Vocally lead by Frida Lydia Hansen, her melodies are White Ascots’ trademark. The albums’ opener, GGG, remains the definitive sound of White Ascot. Pure and fresh soul, nurtured by Norwegian water. Her tonality has a warming immediacy and sensitive, emotional balance.
Be it sunny, groovy and catchy vibes, such as the unmissable Next Season, or the smooth melodies in Naive Pt 2, Frida’s English accent provides an attractive colourisation to characterise and personalise the songs. It makes a track, such as the wonderfully mellow Closer, feel, well…closer. In headphones, her voice has a tangible sense of presence. The melancholic lyrics of loneliness are heartfelt and relatable.
Frida’s vocals aren’t the only notable quality in White Ascot. The arrangement complements her perfectly. They never take centre stage and instead smoothly maintain her soulful tones with tight sonics and melodic phrasing solos.
The exceptional track Weakness meets at the centre point where soulful vocals interlock with a composition to produce complete satisfaction.
The only real surprise comes with rapper Vuyo who appears on All Over Me. Could some songs have been pushed a little more? Perhaps, but the dab of hip-hop indicates the band’s desire to maintain the overall relaxed soulful ambience. And it works.
Café stores and people seeking cool home vibes will love this as much as I do!
Essential Tracks: GGG, Weakness, Next Season, All Over Me
White Ascot is:
Frida Lydia Hansen – vocals
Adrian Danielsen – pianos, synths, electronics, guitar
Kjell Audun Holestøl – bass, synths
Jonas Karlsen – drums percussion
Pink Blood / False Memory - White Ascot
Pink Blood / False Memory is a neo-soul album without exuberance, elaboration or unnecessary excess. Like Scandinavian design, it's elegant, timeless, and, delightfully soulful.