Patrick Lundberg (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Mona Mørk (vocals/percussion) and Bosse Litsheim (drums/keyboards) make up the full-time members of this Bergen, Norway-based band, although the line-up has been subject to constant changes since they formed in 1997. They invariably use additional musicians on their records and for their live shows.
The trio’s gentle lo-fi and ambient songs feature strong folk influences, alternating between Mørk’s soft, tuneful vocals, Lundberg’s quiet, laid-back voice, and a further harmonic combination of the two. Comparisons can be made with indie bands Low and Lowgold, and they share considerable similarities with Red House Painters. The trio’s debut, Film, was initially released by the band in 1998, before Norwegian label dBut took over distribution the following year. Ai Phoenix signed to the Racing Junior label in 2000, releasing the melancholic The Driver Is Dead in August the same year. Despite an improved recording contract and a growing fanbase, which included cult followings throughout Europe and beyond, the trio chose to keep production to a minimum, recording the album at home, in an attempt to create a warm, genuine ‘living-room’ sound.
In 2002 Ai Phoenix released Lean That Way Forever with Germany’s Glitterhouse Records, their first album to be released outside their home country (Racing Junior continued to handle distribution in Norway). Glitterhouse then re-released The Driver Is Dead the same year. The excellent, upbeat I’ve Been Gone - Letter One was issued in 2003 before the prolonged gap and release of The Light Shines Almost All The Way in summer 2007. The long wait proved worthwhile with this, yet another accomplished album, continuing in much the same style with their gentle, heart-warming songs and touching lyrics, perhaps at their best on ‘Peter Pan’ and ‘The Party’s Over’.