Following in the wake of ‘Flown’, their critically acclaimed 2020 debut album, Norwegian art rockers Dim Gray return with its follow-up, ‘Firmament’.
Consisting of twelve direct, vivid and melody-driven songs, it is a record bursting with life and colour, making for an engaging and constantly surprising journey as it weaves a route from strings-infused chamber pop, through evocative indie-folk and lush electronics and into grandiose art rock.
An ambitious artistic statement, ‘Firmament’ will appeal musically to fans of artists such as Radiohead, Agnes Obel, Owen Pallett, Susanne Sundfør, Keane and Tears For Fears. Thematically, it explores further the landscape of melancholy and longing that was introduced on ‘Flown’; however, those sensations are now contextualised in the depressions of the modern world, juxtaposed against romanticised ideas of simpler times through childhood memories interspersed with myths and superstition.
‘Firmament’ will be released on English Electric Recordings, the label run by UK prog titans Big Big Train. Gregory Spawton of BBT states: “We are delighted to announce that we have signed Dim Gray. Until now, the label has just been a vehicle for Big Big Train and outside projects of BBT band members. We have been interested in expanding the label’s activities for some time but only wanted to do so when we came across a truly exciting band that we felt had something new to offer musically. When we were introduced to Dim Gray, we saw that the band has enormous potential and were very keen to sign them.”
(left to right above)
Oskar Holldorff – vocals, keyboards
Håkon Høiberg – guitars, vocals
Tom Ian Klungland – drums, vocals
The album will be available on CD, LP (via Plane Groovy) and all digital services, with the physical formats available to pre-order now via Burning Shed.
The first single from the record is ‘Mare’, which was originally written by guitarist Håkon Høiberg in 2016. Singer/keyboardist Oskar Holldorff explains that “we decided not to include it on ‘Flown’, but when Håkon attempted to rearrange it in the style of Brian Wilson circa ‘Pet Sounds’ we thought the result sounded inspired. The lyric was reworked right up until the recording and is about trying to break free of invisible shackles and the yearning for something more. We tried to balance the earnest expression of emotions with more obscure imagery, but achieving the right blend took a lot of time and effort.”
The trio who comprise Dim Gray come from different places, both musically and geographically, with all three – Høiberg, Holldorff and drummer Tom Ian Klungland – moving from different parts of Norway to Oslo a decade ago to study. Having found each other, they soon began playing together. The three members have contrasting musical backgrounds in genres as diverse as black metal, progressive rock, blues, folk and film music, but in fusing these together they began to develop their own distinctive sound.
The outset of the global pandemic saw the band issue several singles prior to the digital release of ‘Flown’. A concept record with intertwining songs structured like one continuous story, it related a vivid tale of loss and loneliness that constantly twists and turns, with intimate and spatial moments offset with massive and colourful soundscapes. It was issued on 2xLP and CD formats in 2021 to rave reviews.
Oskar Holldorff of Dim Gray will be touring as part of Big Big Train for a set of already announced dates in September 2022, deputising for BBT keyboard player Carly Bryant.
4 Avalon | The Tide
6 Abalus | In Time
7 Long Ago
8 My Barren Road
10 Iron Henry