Now this won’t be to everyone’s tastes, as the twee nature of the recording should be apparent by one glance at the cover. And yes, I must admit I didn’t think it would be to mine: I am beginning to tire of this style of intensely personal, quiet and introspective music, which at its worst verges on needless and smug infantilism. And yet... this is a very heart-warming album.
There’s richness and an expanse to the song writing which is not often the case with these kinds of records, and the girl vocals have a bitter-sweet quality that really catches you unawares. Once you escape the recorders and allow the vocal harmonies to do their work on Undir Heiðum Himni, you’ll find this a difficult LP to stop playing. The “in the nursery” qualities of tracks like Baldursbrár and Djöflasnaran doesn’t grate: despite the simplicity of the presentation, they have a light and breezy quality that cleverly evades any cynicism, though you do wish the band would go easy on the glockenspiel or toy xylophone, or whatever the thing is that makes the tinkly noises.
Sometimes the songs are very blue stocking indeed; New Beginning could be a song written for a Girl Guides meeting, though any doubts are quickly dispelled with an outbreak of brittle beauty. Moi is one-such. And Kertið Og Husið Brann is a charming sea shanty of sorts (though the tune really, really reminds me of something else, I’d Like to Teach the World To Sing, I think).
Surprising and charming.