I’m going to be honest here, as much as I love Sigur Rós and all those that collaborate with them, and as much as I was looking forward to hearing the debut album from their multi-instrumentalist Óbó ('Innhverfi' on Morr Music), I wasn’t sure how I would take to it as I believed it may be ‘experimental’ and mainly instrumental.
I have no idea why I believed it would be like that, and the albums not really quite how I imagined. Yes clearly it combines many different aspects of contemporary music, both minimalist and post rock, and I would regard Óbó’ as a composer rather than songwriter, but this a charming creation, easy to listen to and clever - and when you’re least expecting it, inspiring too.
‘Innhverfi’ is clearly a complex album, and its probably one that you simply have to listen to. ‘Úthverfi’ begins with a foggy haze before the introduction of Óbós almost spoken vocals and a guitar quietly planting the seed of a tune. But with the introduction of piano, the tune blossoms and develops, and then breaks out into an uplifting conclusion, which I liked so much that I listened to the track again before I moved to the next. After the piano led ‘Svartur Galdur’ we have a stunning track, and the highlight to me of the album, ‘Gjallarhornin’. Another growling haze starts us off, before a sublime piano theme, worthy of a slow movement from a piano concerto, and then backed up by wind instruments and developed again further on the piano. Again Óbó’s vocals are a commentary, a background accompaniment to the orchestration but its almost soothing, and not out of place. ‘Rétt e∂a rangt?’ is the nearest we get to a traditional song, with even a chorus, and it’s a good one too, before the album closes with the more introspective ‘Gullregn’.
Having listened to ‘Innverfi’ a few times I was subsequently able to read what it was inspired by, the title a play on the words ‘introvert’ and ‘suburb’ and painting a picture of suburban lives that are isolated and claustrophobic behind their perfect appearances. But ultimately I find this a positive and uplifting album, it is a modern composition, but its accessible, with tracks starting darkly whilst breaking through into light. It may not appeal to all, of course, but I genuinely feel that Óbó’, through his creative freedom and, has widened my listening ears to something different and very memorable.
Nordic Music Review 8/10