I know there's a lot of end of year lists out there, but it is a great opportunity to try and find albums which may have passed us by, or which may not have captured our imagination first time round. So having it pointed out to us that Swedish / Icelandic Folk Pop duo Brother Norths album was included in the Beehive ‘Best Albums of 2014’, was a good excuse to take a listen for ourselves.
The strength of Brother North is the simple but fairly gorgeous sound, predominantly based around vocals, acoustic guitar and cello. Take the 3rd track on the album 'Northbound' for example, the song itself is straightforward enough, but it builds up from an acoustic opening, to introduce cello and then other instruments, and by the end there is this big absorbing noise which sounds good whether listening at home, in the car or through headphones whilst out running (as always i've done all 3...). Opening track 'Skyward lights' pretty much does the same thing, and the whole album is well written, likeable and very easy to listen to.
'Stand out track though to me is actually 'Krummi', maybe surprisingly as that's not written in English. Whilst that does obviously create limitations for a fairly typical Briton with a poor grasp of foreign languages, it's a powerful song, natural sounding and the string instrumentation at the end is fairly spectacular.
'Brother North' have produced a likeable album, and anyone who, like ourselves enjoys bands that utilise a cello, will find pleasure in this. Maybe I was waiting for the blinding bit of musical magic that would catapult this into my own favourites of the year, and that never quite happened, but this is a lovely album full of well written songs and beautiful string arrangements. Listen for yourself through the normal places and then buy on download though Itunes.
Nordic Music Review 7.5 / 10