posted on July 27, 2010 19:00
A review of the album 'Innundir Skinni' by Ólöf Arnalds
Review Snapshot: Dreamy beauty graces this short but sweet album by Iceland’s Ólöf Arnalds. Her voice represents a fairy world with the accompanying artists and her own instrumentation providing a stunning backdrop to her kingdom. Heavenly.
The Cluas Verdict? 9.5 out of 10
Full Review: It’s not often I spend my time imagining an elfin creature sitting on a toadstool, swinging its legs, guitar in hand. But Ólöf Arnalds is this little elf. Her latest album Innundir Skinni evokes images of another world, an emerald landscape shining in the midst of a kingdom of fairies.
I know, I know. But it is the most beautiful world I’ve come across this year.
One voice enters our consciousness with the opening track. A powerful a Capella Ólöf begins on Vinur Minn and is then joined by guitar, percussion, strings, and additional voices. This lilting ‘la, la, la, la’ melody paves the way for title track Innundir Skinni with its soft guitar picking and a pixie-like Ólöf.
Previously having toured with Iceland’s múm, Ólöf’s strength is not just in her voice, but also in the multiple instruments that she plays: Violin, Stroh violin, guitar and charango. The charango is a South American instrument that sounds a little like a mandolin and looks like a ukulele. We can hear its prominence on the finishing track 'Allt I Guddi'.
Folk piece 'Crazy Car' is sung in English as a duet with Ragnar Kjartansson. The harmonies feel wholesome and close. ‘Please, please think inside the box only for a moment’ is a line that sticks with me. [This track will be released on 6th September in advance of the album’s release on the 13th].
From the oriental chords on 'Vinkonour' to the ethereal 'Svif Birki', and the ‘toora loora loora loo’ Irish lilt on 'Jonathon', the album is full of surprises and variety from beginning to end. On ‘Surrender’ we hear the accompanying vocals of Björk. It seems the Icelandic folks support each other: the album itself is produced by Sigur Ros’ Kjartan Sveinsson and Davíð Þór Jónsson.
Ólöf said of the album that it “ended up being in charge of me rather than me being in charge of it”. You can certainly feel the music flowing organically throughout this gem. My only wish is that it could have gone on longer. At just over 32 minutes I wanted more. Ólöf Arnalds will perform in Dublin on 24th September at the Fringe, a perfect chance to hear her magical new material.
Ólöf Arnalds - Innudir skinni by One Little Indian Records