Asgeir - In The Silence
From the land of sweeping, atmospheric, slightly odd music comes Asgeir and his first album, In The Silence. The biggest selling debut of all time in Iceland has been translated into English with the help of lyricist extraordinaire John Grant, whom he supported on his 2013 UK tour. Originally released in his homeland in 2012 and delayed from a September 2013 release in the UK, the album's unique lyrical composition comes from using lyrics taken from his septuagenarian father’s poetry. But is much of that uniqueness is lost in translation?
It’s hard to be sure; there is a stark quality and consistency to the lyrical style throughout which suggests it’s made it relatively intact. Musically, the Icelandic singer covers a mix of styles and whilst not drifting far from the current trends emanating from the Nordic territories, In The Silence is different in the way it blends these influences. Taking his cues from James Blake on opening track ‘Higher’, with echoing, high pitched vocals and reverb-laden piano, while the two best tracks, lead single ‘King and Cross’ and ‘Going Home’, cover laid-back folktronica with some panache. Acoustic folk gets its turn on ‘Summer Guest’, and ‘Torrent’ brings reminders of the Coldplay brand of uplifting piano led pop-rock. Throughout, his delicately accented vocals add a lightness.
You could make the case that actually, the English translation has dampened In The Silence; as Sigur Ros have shown, use of the Icelandic language – albeit their own version - adds something ethereal to the mix. That would possibly have been the case here, too. Still, the swirling mix of subdued beats, sweet vocals, and soft guitars put this in a place all of its own.