Pascal Pinon - Sundur
This lovely album is exactly how you would imagine Iceland to be: magical, dreamy, and just a bit bonkers. Sisters Ásthildur and Jófríður Ákadóttir (calling themselves Pascal Pinon after the turn of the century circus performer) deliver Sundur, their fourth full length album and it's a truly marvelous thing. Their lovely soft voices, reminiscent of fellow Icelander Bjork, give the songs an otherworldly feel that only adds to their charm. Acoustic guitars, keyboards and accordion add a soft gauzy texture to the story-like tunes. 'Skammdegi' is sung in their native Icelandic which adds to the album's fun eccentricity, the girl's airy voices weaving around each other's like a dance.
Other standouts are the melancholy 'Jósa & Lotta' which showcases the sisters' harmonies, their tongues fighting to get around the quirky lyrics, and 'Fulgar' with the incessant accordion chords adding a touch of menace at odds with the sister's child-like voices. The eerie 'Babies' begins with the rattle of metal and sad horns until the girls' voices come in like a ray of light through the clouds. Final song 'Weeks' is just Jófríður's fragile vocals with a distant siren sounding in the background like a warning. Sundur is a glorious triumph, utterly original and challenging yet immensely satisfying. Gorgeous stuff.