Bjørn Riis is a man of many talents. Apart from his impressive work with Norwegian prog rockers Airbag, his solo outputs have been utterly enjoyable affairs and all of them have emphasized the fact that the skilled musician has a highly attuned ear for melodies, riffs, and atmosphere. Everything to Everyone, which will be released in early April via Karisma Records, is his best and most compelling work to date.
Everything to Everyone is a pretty melancholy listen in many ways and undoubtedly an emotionally charged album, but nothing ever feels or sounds contrived here. Thanks to Riis’ ability to weave haunting melodies, introspective lyrics, and cinematic soundscapes together to such marvelous effect, the record comes across as an imaginative and engaging piece of work with an intimate and thoughtful quality to it. These are compositions that you can get lost in, and everything is delivered in such a confident manner that one is not left in doubt as to how connected Riis is to every single note that he churns out. Musically, David Gilmour’s solo works and to a lesser extent those of Porcupine Tree and Marillion might serve as relatively good points of comparison here, but this 6-track gem is very much the sound and voice of Bjørn’s inner being. If there is such a thing as elegantly crafted prog rock with eloquently poignant lyrics to it, then this one is it. One can listen to these cohesive tracks over and over again and never grow tired of them – there is always something new to discover be it a subtle nuance or a perhaps a barely audible layer hidden deep within the song in question. The mournful tone of it all resonates with me deeply but there are gleams of hope and light to be found here too. Despite its occasionally dense tapestry of darkness and yearning, it does possess a calming, mesmeric effect.
A genuinely skilled artist is about to release a brilliant LP that boasts a stunningly crisp and vibrant production, and I can think of no reason why you should not pick up on this beautiful thing as soon as it hits the record shelves (or streaming devices should that be your preference).
Everything to Everyone will be released by Karisma Records on April 8, 2022.