A new chapter for Noija is rapidly upon us, with the release of their sophomore album happening later this month. Through Fire All Things Are Renewed releases on 28th August, and includes previous singles “Crawl Into My Skin”, “Broken Glass”, and “Runaway”. “Bleak” is the newest single to come from the Swedish act, with a hand from Joel Holmqvist of AVIANA.
From the band’s beginnings with the release of “Unknown” in 2017, Noija have taken a DIY approach to their music and the creation and sharing of it – and it seems that this hasn’t changed. Still produced and mixed by guitarist Ludvig Ottosson, the video for “Bleak” was filmed by Holmqvist (described on Noija’s socials as a friend of the band) and vocalist Nick Serlstedt, with editing performed by Serlstedt. But don’t confuse DIY as meaning anything close to an absence of professionalism.
“Bleak”‘s four and a half minutes are captivating, mostly due to the trance-inducing nature of the repeated line “We are all so bleak”, but mostly due to the fiery emotion that travels to places you couldn’t have predicted. Holmqvist’s vocal feature in particular lands explosively, after a gradual build to that point of the song. Coupling nicely with Serlstedt’s clarity of voice, the darkened mood vibes like reaching a point of enough-ness.
According to Noija, the song is about the ills of social media, specifically how it “can take over our lives and blur the line between what is real and what isn’t.” The band question the common practice of comparing ourselves with what we see of others online, and question the idea of worshipping something that isn’t entirely real, disturbed by the way that this affects our lives and self-view.
“It’s like we live a thousand lives
All for the eyes of another”
Softened and somewhat mysterious as it begins, “Bleak” is calmly questioning at first. With spaces left for contemplation, “Bleak” exists in the space between blind worship and feeling lost: They understand why these ‘worship’ situations happen, but also know that the saviour they’re looking for isn’t to be found behind a social media account. And so it continues, with the repetition of “We are all so bleak” feeling perfectly matched for a stuck cycle of behaviour.
Calm question grows into serious determination to be heard. And the chorus that melds synth melody and raw vocals was already divine before Holmqvist’s feature lands with the disruptive force of a wake up call: “No one is coming for you”. The ruffled edges remain even with the return of the chorus, and the climbing and urging riff draws focus.
When you’d expect the song to be over, a zen moment with gentle rain offers something thoughtful, repeating earlier sentiment on a personal level (saying “I” instead of “we”). Heartbeat pulses and stellar guitar tone foreshadow the return of the chorus. Despite its raw edges, the song ends with a feeling of triumph and is moreish with its polished qualities and easy structure.
Listen/watch “Bleak” and pre-order Through Fire All Things Are Renewed here: https://noijashop.bigcartel.com/. The album artwork and tracklisting are shown below.
Through Fire All Things Are Renewed Track List:
1. Through Fire
2. Crawl Into My Skin
3. Meaning To Your Pain
4. Bleak (feat. Joel Holmqvist)
5. Trace (Empty Me)
9. Broken Glass
11. Save Myself
13. All Things Are Renewed