Thursday 14 December 2017

ólöf's distinctive vocals elevated to greatness

John Meagher

John Meagher

Sudden Elevation

(One Little Indian)


Once described by her Icelandic compatriot Bjork as having a voice "somewhere between a child and an old woman", Ólöf Arnalds's vocals are about as far from run-of-the-mill singers as you can get.

As a solo artist, she is well regarded in Iceland's healthy local arts scene, although international listeners may be familiar with her inimitable style thanks to her contribution to the experimental collective, múm, since 2006. She was in fine form on the beguiling duet with the aforementioned Bjork on the 2011 single, Surrender.

Sudden Elevation is her first album in which all the lyrics are in English, yet she retains the sense of mystery that has made much of her former work so compelling.

A Little Grim is typical of her whimsical fare. Over a delicate melange of organic instrumentation, she mulls over the trials and tribulations of everyday life.

It's a song that manages to be both soothing and unsettling.

Arnalds' long-time collaborator, Skuli Sverrisson, produces and it's to the pair's credit that Sudden Elevation's dreamy, otherworldly music avoids some of the sonic clichés one might associate with this remote part of northern Europe.

KEY TRACKS A Little Grim; Onwards and Upwards

Day & Night

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