Label: Daring Viola Release date: 25/10/10 Link: Official Site Although well-known in her native Norway, singer/songwriter Ingrid Olava has released her debut EP here in the UK, taking songs from her widely acclaimed second album The Guest and releasing it under the title Please Welcome. Made up of four tracks, this includes the radio edit of single Warrior Song and three live recordings from her recent performance at Oya festival. Currently on a mini-tour around the UK, including three dates in London, this is a woman determined to break into the more commercially viable industry we have here – and who can blame her. The most vivid thing about Olava’s music is the power she creates with her voice. It’s very captivating to listen to, especially since the subjects she deals with are quite hard-hitting. The extended live version of ‘Won’t Be Silenced’ deals with domestic violence, and according to previous interviews, ‘Warrior Song’ is about a friend who didn’t want to be saved. Olava seems to be at her best when approaching a chorus when she can really let the power of her voice go, and she is accompanied well on this EP by pianos, strings and guitars that shimmer away in the background and create a nice layer upon which Olava can make her case. However, seeing as she is a singer/songwriter, and does not play any instruments herself, the only thing we can really judge her on is her voice, and in that sense and on this offering it does not appear to be particularly flexible. Particularly on the live recordings, she does not sound comfortable hitting the higher notes, making it a bit of a puzzle trying to work out why she tries to hit them so often. What is clearly on show here is that Ingrid Olava is a talented woman. The songs are well-written; the lyrics poignant and thought-provoking. So where’s the problem, you ask. The problem is that Please Welcome is just a little bit too average. Nothing in this EP stands out and makes you truly sit up and take notice. It could perhaps be the way it’s arranged – the backing instruments are too much in the background and it makes Olava’s take on singer/songwriting sound like the million other people out there doing the same thing. In fact, the only thing truly different about this particular release is that on closing track ‘Back To Love’ she introduces the song in Norwegian. Although that said, The Guest did receive widespread critical acclaim so perhaps it’s unfair for us in the UK to judge her just on this offering. But it does need to be better. Photobucket