Like the lovely Come Up For Air album from The White Birch of a couple years back, this debut solo release from Hilde Marie Kjersem glides into a much more pop realm that just about everything else released on the Rune Grammofon label. Although she's released a couple albums with different groups (including one of jazz standards), A Killer For That Ache finds her wandering through slightly haunted songs that touch on everything from country to trip hop.
Much more varied (and less melancholy) than label-mate Susanna And The Magic Orchestra, it's an odd little album full of varied sounds that often doesn't quite know which direction it wants to go in. It starts out softly, with the short autoharp-backed "Sleepyhead," and only slightly picks up on the warm "Mary Full Of Grace," which warps some soft layers of horns, piano, and acoustic guitar around the vocals of Kjersem, who dips into a more soulful tone vocally
From there, the album is pretty much all over the map. "Marie Antoinette" slithers along for over five minutes, moving between passages of glimmering electronics, quiet vocal-driven passages, and almost prog-rock outbursts. Album-titled "A Killer For That Ache" and "Save Up" change things up even more by going almost completely a capella. "London Bridge" brings in some crunchy sampled beats and feedback along with some deep slabs of analogue synth, while "Catching A Star" again goes over-the-top in terms of blurping keyboards, big drums, and huge vocals. With eleven songs running just over forty minutes, it's one of those albums that has standout moments, but never really finds a solid connecting thread (other than the beautiful vocals of Kjersem). Not quite up to some of the other more mainstream sounding work on the label, this solo debut from Hilde Marie Kjersem nonetheless has some moments worth hearing.