Ólöf Arnalds - Ólöf Sings
Sometimes it can appear that the entire population of Iceland is a few albums into an innovative and groundbreaking musical career. Ólöf Arnalds, cousin of multi-instrumentalist Ólafur Arnalds, has already released two albums which have featured appearances from Bjork and production from Sigur Ros’ Kjartan Sveinsson and Davíð Þór Jónsson. Once her first album received a wider international release, her profile grew and gathered positive feedback from the critical community. Her second album, Innundir Skinni continued this trend and was the first to feature some songs in English alongside her native tongue. Before returning with a new album in 2012 Ólöf marks this year drawing to a close with this EP of covers.
This is a short and sweet affair. Across the five tracks Arnalds fits in songs from Arthur Russel, Gene Clark, Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Caetano Veloso. The songs universally occupy a delicate country folk setting and despite the disparate sources come across as a whole. This perhaps is to the detriment of the EP in that despite her beautiful singing there’s a lack of musical range to the material.
The songs are personal to Arnalds, allowing her to capture moments from her youth or when exposed to elements of American popular culture. On Dylan’s 'She Belongs to Me' she has described it as “singing partly to herself as a reminder to have courage and keep on truckin’ with her music”. There is a calm, reflective beauty in her voice. Whilst this EP may in retrospect be thought of as a curiosity it signposts an artist worth following in the future.