Lockerbie - 'Kafari'
One of the many things I like about Icelandic music (it’s a long list obviously…), is the level of collaboration and sharing of musicians between bands. Now I realise that this goes on everywhere, but in Iceland it seems to be particularly prevalent. From our perspective it’s a great way of finding different artists and bands too, so whilst I was researching the excellent CeaseTone (we've written about them twice), I came across the name Lockerbie, as CeaseTone's frontman Haffi is guitarist in Lockerbie – I think he also sometimes plays with Agent Fresco too. So when Lockerbie then contacted us to advise of their new album, we already had them on our list to review anyway.
The band have been together for a long time, and it’s their 2nd album, and we are slightly at a disadvantage lyrically as its sung in Icelandic – I wish more bands would sing in their native language, but I cant deny it does make it slightly tricky when reviewing the album, I feel I’m always missing something, and will therefore be concentrating on writing about how the music sounds obviously.
The first thing to say is that the music has genuine warmth to it, Doddis vocals (Þórður Páll Pálsson) are reassuring and never harsh, and within seconds of opening track ‘Þoka’, I feel content in the knowledge that we have sound musicians making stylish post rock music. The brass add a lovely dimension, and there is this gentle flowing melody that carries through the track. ‘Heim’ is a great example of why their music works so well, I love the piano opening and the brass themes compliment the song, and always seem to be introduced in the right places – never overstated or overused.
But having spent a fair amount of time listening to Lockerbie's 1st album ‘Ólgursjór’ too. there’re is no doubt that the music has evolved. ‘Ólgursjór’ is more delicate, uses a string quartet, and whilst it is beautifully written, it is slightly introverted in places. And whilst I do miss those strings in their latest release, it does allow the band to throw their collective brass section and synthesizers more dynamically at each of the tracks. ‘Rok’ does just that, after a subtle opening the guitar, sax and trumpet blaze out a triumphant theme, and it’s a real highlight of the album. These bigger sounds are balanced by the refined, melancholy and almost epic ‘Kafari’, which uses piano and guitar really effectively – and you can watch and listen to it in their video release here:
At the core of 'Kafari', is lovely songwriting, beautiful instrumentation and great musicianship., there are subtleties and nuances in this album that will keep you interested for years if you give it chance. So yes I did sometimes miss the strings from the 1st album, and sometimes wish they ‘opened up and let things go’ a few more times, given us all even more shades of darkness and light, and more contrasts - like in ‘Rok’ and the last track ‘Seyðisfjörður’. But the album 'is what it is', it doesn’t appear to have a dark edge, its beautiful musically, full of interesting ideas and flowing melodies. I’d really recommend both the albums Lockerbie have released, they are high quality, musical offerings which can be enjoyed over multiple listens, and I certainly look forward to getting to know them even further.
Nordic Music Review 8/10
You can listen to Kafari on Soundcloud and on the bands website. Lockerbie are currently fundraising to release the album on Vinyl, please try and support this by visiting this site https://www.karolinafund.com/project/view/1139