If I’m being honest, I clicked on this album because I saw the words “Nordic indie pop” in a press email and knew it had to be good. Stereotypical much? Maybe. But I know this part of the world seems to be chock full of good musicians. Perhaps it’s because of how long the summers and winters are. For one part of the year, you’re thrust into the light. The other, swimming in darkness.
“Thrust into the light” is an apt way to describe how this album makes me feel. The way it swells makes my heart feel warm. I’m a Christian, and I’ve heard that theologian John Wesley once described an encounter with God as a “strange warmth.” I believe God uses art of all kinds to speak to people, regardless of the background or belief system of those who made it. I think I was supposed to hear the title track to this album tonight. I’m about to be an uncle in a couple of weeks, and I find myself meditating on both new beginnings and the inevitable passage of life. This song is a bright entry way to nostalgia and hope for the future.
Strange warmth indeed.
The effect of the album creeps up on you. When I heard the album opener, “Fear of Frogs,” I liked the airy sound but wasn’t completely sold on it yet. And each proceeding song builds upon the previous one’s foundation. Another peak can be heard in “Too Young,” which builds upon the pensive nature of “Man from Tuhuna.” It’s a satisfying payoff, with a nice balance of crunchy guitars and relaxing vocals. “Really Nervous” defies its title by demonstrating anticipation but not anxiety.
Listening to this album reminds me of some of the worship songs I used to sing in youth group growing up. Make no mistake—these are not religious songs. However, they do succeed at stirring emotion and directing my attention toward a specific vantage point.
Secret Treehouse is based in Norway, and has a wonderful mission statement. From their bio online, is the following:
Secret Treehouse is about a form of escapism. The place you retreat to when you need some distance and escape from reality. Secret Treehouse is set out on an everlasting quest to find the perfect melody.