Welcome to Iceland Review Online's review section. Guest contributors and staff writers will provide you with a new review every Monday about a current art exhibition, a new Icelandic film, an album recently released by an Icelandic band or a new Icelandic novel likely to be published abroad. Please email any comments you might have to the web editor: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I interviewed Myrra Rós once, about three years ago. At the time she was starting to make a name for herself as a troubadour or, as she and a number of other female Icelandic music acts refer to themselves, a troubatrix. She was playing a gig here and a gig there and starting to gain a reputation as a girl with a guitar and a voice.
I flirted shamelessly with her, of course, because I’m an unprofessional tart. She’s quite striking really, and while I first assumed her to be a bit of a badass based on her 90s rocker attire she was surprisingly sweet and quick to laugh.
This is true of her, now long-anticipated, debut album Kveldúlfur as well. I thought it might be upbeat or have a rock flavor. But that’s not the case, this is folk pop and Icelanders do this well I think. Just look at acts like Lay Low, Elín Ey or Elíza Newman.
Myrra Rós’ voice is warm and wispy like sweet tobacco smoke and the subjects are romantic and filled with adagio melodies.
The album is a mix of Icelandic and English tracks and overall it’s lovely, really lovely. Kind of like an afternoon on a rowboat in the sun. No fuss, no problems and very relaxing. You don’t have to work hard to enjoy it but it also doesn’t challenge you as a listener. It’s slow and that can get too much at times.
That said, I don’t think Myrra Rós is looking to be challenging, to change how her listeners think or make them feel uncomfortable the way folk music often strives to do. My impression is that she just wants to sing her beautiful songs and stir something in the heart of her listeners and that she does instinctually.
Tracks to listen out for: Animal, one of the few up beat numbers on the album and probably one of the more “single-worthy” songs. Then there’s Láru Lag, which I liked because it seemed very intimate somehow, almost a lullaby. I think she may have written it for someone very dear to her, though I can’t say for sure, and I have a weakness for songs drip with personal experience.
I give this mellow dreamy album four stars out of five because it was lovely.
Kveldúlfur is out now and may be purchased from gogoyoko.com as well as all respectable Icelandic record shops.
Nanna Árnadóttir – email@example.com
Nanna Árnadóttir is a writer by day, musical garbage disposal by night. All kinds of musical genres are consumed and processed in her mind. Although she is an avid hip-hop head she likes all music that is passionate, beautiful and honest. She has a special interest in the sonic fruits of her native country.