Thomas Dybdahl : Fever Review, a bold soul statement
Thomas Dybdahl is a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and native of Sandnes, Norway. “I’ve taken an eclectic approach,” Dybdahl says. “I’ve sought to draw influences from the whole spectrum of music — not only from songwriters and singers but also from contemporary and classical music. I am always trying to infuse my work with all these different influences so that I don’t limit myself, or listeners, to the notion of being just another guy with a guitar.” Although Dybdahl is a solo artist, he has also made a career composing for film and theatre. He has received the Norwegian ‘Amanda’ award, the highest honor for a film composer. He has also worked as a producer, songwriter, and as a frontman in the band The National Bank, as well as guesting with other acts ranging from Morcheeba to French singer Melanie Pain all the way to folk icon Judy Collins. 2020 marks the release of his new album, Fever, which was produced, written and recorded by Thomas Dybdahl & Håvard Rosenberg in Thomas’ own 1micadventure studio in Stavanger, Norway.
The album opens with “45,” a catchy song with a 60’s vibe and hip guitar riff. While recording the guitar parts, the two used an old Tandberg 2 track recorder Thomas inherited from his grandfather. On this tape recorder, Dybdahl and Rosenberg found early recordings of Thomas’ father and uncles discussing their dreams for their future as kids in the 1960s. That conversation inspired the lyrical theme of the song. The feel is terrific as Dybdahl’s voice is surrounded by reverb to give it a retro sound. He explains, “Our setup and goal was simple enough: we wanted to make a soulful guitar record that didn’t feel like a guitar record, and that sounded both old and fresh at the same time.” That is precisely what “45” sounds like.
“Then There Was You” continues the soulful guitar adventure with added background vocals and layers of sounds. The song has multiple layers the fly in as Dybdahl’s warm, quiet voice sings the melody. Dybdahl has a vintage soul quality to the way he sings and delivers the melody. His guitar playing is soulful too, but he adds just the right amount of rock and blues to make it tasty. The pop influence is heard in the melodies, but the soul feel is always maintained. The different guitar layers on this track are inventive and make a musical statement.
Fever is an album that showcases Dybdahl’s songwriting, guitar playing, and singing. The nine tracks are all soaked with a vintage vibe and reverb. The melodies are catchy, and the guitar playing is tasteful. Another strong outing for a very talented musician that is quietly gaining ground around the world.
March 13, 2020
V2 Records Benelux