Yes, they’re from Norway, but no they don’t play growling metal and burn churches – catchy classic rock is more up their fjord.
WORDS: ALEXANDER MILAS
As rock’n’roll CVs go, Audrey Horne’s hardly gives them Access All Areas to these pages. Their old bassist is a member of black metal corpsepaint enthusiasts Gorgoroth. Their guitarist Arve Isdal spends his evening hours picking strings for prog-minded Viking metal extremists Enslaved. They’re from the freezing and rainswept Norwegian coastal city of Bergen. And – considering even the most casual spin of the radio dial in their homeland can summon a nightmare of dance-friendly crimes against good taste – not even the fact that Audrey Horne won a Norwegian Grammy in 2006 for Best Metal Performance, or their nomination for another one this year, should really be enough to justify their presence in Classic Rock, right? Well, if that’s what you think, give their latest album Le Fol a spin and you’re likely to be proved wrong, because Audrey Horne may very well have just released one of the most forward-thinking rock albums of the year.
“Okay, we’re not a very Norwegian band,” admits Isdal, “but we grew up listening to British heavy metal, and a lot of Kiss and Mötley Crüe. But as metal started to get more superficial we started getting into Alice In Chains and Faith No More and it went from there.”
Throw in a few other names like Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, and Screaming Trees and you might begin to understand the creative touchstone of these Norwegian songsmiths, who have
crafted an edgy, guitar-laden sound that
harks back to the musical explosion of the early 90s when bands with a penchant for wailing solos and soaring choruses began to emerge that could only be described as alt.rock, alt.metal, or alt… whatever.
“Actually, we took our name from David Lynch because we wanted something that suggested we’re doing something very different here,” says singer Toschie, of the quirky adolescent sex-pot that lay at the centre of the filmmaker’s famously off-kilter Twin Peaks saga. “And, because she was sexy.”
But then Audrey Horne’s sound, which combines sophisticated, driving melodies and a high-comfort level with lighter-flicking, is no recent mishap. The band having formed in 2002 for reasons that Toschie will only describe as “a laugh”, it wasn’t long before the group realised they were having too much fun to play just part-time. In 2005 they released their debut EP Confessions And Alcohol as well as debut album No Hay Banda, and suddenly they were winning acclaim in their home country. And with the new Le Fol they’ve come up with an insidiously catchy album of astonishing diversity.
As for the Grammy, it hasn’t gone to their heads.
“It sort of came as a surprise, and we kind
of laughed when that happened,” says Toschie. “But it’s always a pleasant surprise. And then we thought: ‘Actually, we made a good enough record!’”
On that latter point, they’ll get no argument from us.
• Le Fol is out now on Indie Recordings.
• You can check out Audrey Horne online here.
• This article originally appeared in Classic Rock issue 116.