Bad Science Fiction

Bjorn Tomren

Propeller Records, 2019

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


A Scandinavian singer-songwriter with a penchant for poetic song craft, Bjorn Tomren covers stories about life, death, love, and liquor with his vivid wordplay and extremely cautious guitar playing on his debut album, Bad Science Fiction.

The title track starts the listen soft and soothing. Tomren's deep, distinct vocals steer the atmospheric folk tune, and female vocals from Ase Britt Jakobsen (who appears many times) are also on hand. “Black Freighter” follows with a quicker pace of intricate guitar picking as Tomren gets more expressive with his singing while gentle horns enter the equation.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Elsewhere, “Dr. Mabuse” flows with an old time feel where strategic percussion and an accordion are present, while “Last Girl In The World” is one of the most sparse tunes present, with languid guitar work complemented by bells and vocal tonal manipulation.

The remainder of the listen isn't much of a departure from the first half. It includes the pretty female singing of “Hiroshima Mon Amour,” which is textured beautiful with delicate layers and haunting undertones, and “Pictures From A Plane” continues the elegance with a folksy strummer that unfolds with soaring vocal melodies. “Flying Robots Killing People” ends the listen with the most experimental tune, where a sci-fi country sort of delivery adds much mystery to the affair.

Bjorn has said that this album was written for hangovers, and while the subdued nature of the record seems to align with that, there's also protest songs buried alongside social-political issues in his Gothic-Americana influenced formula.

Previously of the duo Polkabjorn & Kleine Heine, who achieved a bit of fame touring with A-ha, as well as throat singing enthusiast who also taught at Steve Earle's Camp Copperhead in New York, Tomren even holds world records in Norway for traveling the country by rowboat, skis, kayak, and foot.

Clearly, he isn't your typical intellectual guitar player, and we're all better off for it.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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