The disbanding of the Clickhaze was, perhaps, for better. If, at least, one of the members had been seriously involved with this, though rather attractive, but still a secondary project, a disaster would have happened. Petur Pólson wouldn’t have released his album «Koma»; Eivør Pálsdóttir would, probably, have lost her Faroese identity, if she became simply a good singer instead of a real phenomenon. Jens L. Thomsen could have not devoted himself to Orka either. This will also be true for another musician of a star band, which shone so short on the horizon of the Faroese music (they released only one EP), — Høgni Lisberg.
Høgni, of course, continues being a secondary musician in some projects, not even pretending to become a frontmen. For example, he is drummer in the Eivør’s band, and is always ready to help others and add some rhythm. This fact, though, isn’t stopping him from releasing of the greatest solo albums (a real expert). He’s got already 5 longplays with English and an EP with the Faroese songs in his track record.
Most Beautiful Things
According to Wikipedia, Høgni moved to Copenhagen in 2004 (it happens to most Faroese sometimes, but passes quickly). But first, he had released the first solo album «Most Beautiful Things» in 2003. It’s interesting, that Lisberg had composed, played and produced most of songs on the CD (there’re 11 of them) by himself. Only Jens L. Tomsen accompanied him on the bass and was the album’s co-producer. A few other people occasionally participated in the album’s record. They helped only with details: somebody was a back vocalist (Bjartur F. Johannesen), somebody helped by the atmospheric organ play (Gunnar Guttesen). In some song we even hear the guitar tinkling of Allan Tausen. The same musician, who’s half Еskimo and has visited to Russia lately.
Despite the totalitarian character of its author, the album turned to be musically rich and was appreciated, as you’ve already realized, by many people. It became the second top-selling album in the Faroes, and Høgni became very popular not only at home, but also in Switzerland, after his Swiss tour. And this’s not surprising. Penetrating lyrics, “threaded” on the pleasant melodies and perfectly sung, would probably touch the feelings of any self-respecting Swiss. I won’t distinguish any special songs, but the three of them are extremely good – «Caught», «When You Get Home» and «Now». To be fair, other eight are not bad, too.
In 2005, Høgni kept gaining people’s hearts by his music and released the «Morning Dew», which one can fall in love with from the first minute – the opening track is completely magic. In his new album, Høgni is no more an egoist and gave some parts to other musicians. Yes, he still sings, plays the acoustic guitar and drums, but Allan Tausen plays his electro guitar in several songs, and Jens accompanies on the bass. Besides, other four musicians appear very often in all 12 songs: Hans Poulsen, Óli Poulsen, Tom Vanstiphout and Jana Hjalgrímsdóttir, who favoured us with her great vocals in several compositions. This album is, to the certain extent, the continuing of the previous one, and doesn’t differ from it greatly – soft lyrical ballads descend upon your ears in its full splendor. The matter is, that in «Morning Dew» Høgni felt the new sides of his talent, which reached its plentitude 3 years on in his new album.
In «Hare! Hare!» (2008) Høgni plays another role. From its first songs («Big Personality» and «The Right Attitude») one can understand, that this romantic Faroese guy is tired of breaking girls’ hearts with the soppy songs.
The whole album is a mix of a slightly blues, soul, and (let the devil take it) reggae, in which one can find lots of references to the great and not very great musicians.
Nobody knows, what happened with Høgni, but we won’t hear the Lisberg (it seems, that he’d become Afro-American for the period of album record), we’ve got used to. It doesn’t matter, though. The album «Hare! Hare!» teems with lots of first-class songs. Besides, the composition «Bow Down (To No Man)» became the soundtrack for two computer games – basketball simulators, while «Big Personality» and «Soul Company» played in some popular reality show on MTV.
The LP «Con Man» definitely showed, that Høgni would never be the same. The 2012 album increased this gap to some extent. Unlike «Hare! Hare!», it sounds not very naturally. It’s not even «blues, soul and reggae» as in previous album (though some compositions continue keeps the “tradition”). In «Con Man», Lisberg mixed absolutely everything. The pure and simple alternative «Who's Gonna Save You Now» gives place to the groovy blues «The System», then we hear the electrified version of the “early” Høgni «Under Streetlights».
But you shouldn’t be too excited at his return, as you’ll hear the pure Kid Rock with rap, alternative riffs and other crazy things. There’s even a bit of great psychedelic music («Rats») in album. When the accords of the last song «Sea Of Mercy» (it’s magic) together with cold distracted key sounds and piercing Høgni’s vocals are dying away, you begin to realize, that this album is not so bad, as it may seem first. Besides, to close all albums with wonderful ballads has probably become Høgni’s tradition. He’s outdone himself in «Con Man» – the «Sea Of Mercy» is, to my opinion, his best song.
After a somewhat noisy «Con Man», Høgni let us to take a breath and listen to his EP. There’re no English songs in this 2014 mini-album – only the Faroese ones. This exception from rule delights very much. Lisberg didn’t give us a chance to listen to his native Faroese songs before. The album turned out to be rather gloomy, it resembles Gestir in some places. Thus, the duet with Eivør – composition «Minnið» – lightened atmosphere by its perfect beauty.
Call For A Revolution
«Call For A Revolution» is rather diverse. If «Hare! Hare!» has been created as something absolutely different from the previous Høgni‘s works, then his last album is a kind of a try to make a hybrid, in which two Lisberg’s talents – composing of touching lyrics and rather impressive rock’n’roll — could be demonstrated. Despite this fact, the album, still, became a nice end of our history. Mostly due to «I've Seen God Through You» and «Things You Need To Work Out On Your Own» (Høgni is best in writing lyrics, after all). Happy end is waiting for continuance.
With each album, one can watch both Høgni’s musician’s progress and his insatiable desire to change. Luckily, Lisberg is rather natural in all his roles. Besides, he should change not only with each album release, but also with each song. Songwriter (music and texts), record producer, vocalist, guitar player, drummer Høgni Lisberg occupies the rightful place at the musical stage of the Faroe Islands. Despite severe competition, he looks very convincing and can rank with his fellows in Clickhaze. I think, the best is yet to come to this musician.
Reviewer by Anton Kovalsky.
Translated by Irina Boiko.