Marit Othilie Thorvik steps out as a solo artist on Suddenly My Mind Is Blank. Jouska started as a partnership with fellow Oslo musician Hans Olav Settem. Together, they made fizzy, danceable songs built on tactile percussion, far-off vocals and a low-fi hiss. Their 2020 debut Everything is Good marked out a distinct corner at the intersection of dreampop, electronic music and R&B for them to claim as their own.
The solo follow-up is more inward-looking, slowing the tempo and drawing on Thorvik’s mental state for inspiration. The drums are still punchy and elastic, and there are earworms all over the tracklist, but reflective lyrics and a soporific mood pull us firmly into her headspace.
Thorvik is bare and self-critical on ‘Fragrance’, picking apart her face, her music and lack of motivation to improve. It’s a refreshingly upfront portrayal of unhealthy thoughts, free of poetry or metaphor.
That brash approach can be felt instrumentally on ‘Blue Like the Sun’, a clear highlight which uses crushing bass and jumbled noise to capture the dead-eyed anger and disappointment Jouska sings about. The album is at its best on moments like these, where a clear perspective forms. Jouska is an understated vocalist, opting for breathy singing or a hushed spoken delivery. We have to meet her in the dissociative haze of her thoughts, a contrast which makes the moments of clarity that much stronger.