Trollfest is a fun band, and for a while that was the most I could really say about them. They make decent music, and they’re fun to see live, but the goofiness wears off quickly. With Norwegian Fairytales, releasing through NoiseArt, it seemed on the surface that the band was going in a different, slightly more serious, direction.
When I first started spinning the record, I had piled on a heaping handful of expectations, thinking for some reason that the group was trying for a more “mature” acoustic record. Right away, I’ll say I couldn’t have been more wrong, but I will say that the music does have a little more gravity to it, balancing out the sillier aspects of the group. They’ve always achieved interesting textures, and there are fewer overtly comedic bits to break up those nice textural moments on this record.
The folk aspects of the songs on Norwegian Fairytales also have a more traditional bent to them, as much as they can for a band who prominently feature a saxophonist. “Kjetteran Mot Strømmen” and “Espen bin Askelladen” showcase these slightly new turns for the band with compositions that flirt with Finntroll-esque rumbling style. “Småfolkets Store Bragder” is probably the biggest highlight on the album for me, starting with epic acapella folk singing before developing into a proggy, jazz-tinged banger.
Norwegian Fairytales reignited my interest in a group that had grown a little cold for me, with some intensely interesting compositions that balance Trollfest’s raucously wacky aesthetic. I’d recommend picking this one up or at least giving it a listen, because it may very well be one of Trollfest’s best records.