Songs for Iris - 'Mending'
As regular readers will know, although we're more than happy to receive submissions direct from bands and accept them too from PR companies, we love searching ourselves for Nordic Artists who we haven't yet come across - gig listings in small venues across the Nordic countries are a good source, but occasionally we revert to Bandcamp - and there's often a gem on there, normally hidden next to the latest releases from the a death metal band with a name far too rude for our innocent NMR ears.
Anyway our most recent Bandcamp discovery were 'Songs for Iris', a beautiful sounding and named band from Copenhagen, who recently released their second album 'Mending' - and we feel slightly guilty for not coming across them before, because their previous releases have clearly been well received and they've played extensive live tours too, including I believe the UK. They were named after band member Heidi's grandmother, as Heidi used to take her songs that she had written - and eventually the band name simply stuck, which is lovely. They play the most beautiful and pure sounding folk pop (on the 'folk' side of 'folk pop' if that makes sense), and their music is Irish and Scottish folk influenced - which is maybe why I immediately fell for their charming sounds.
'Mending' is 8 tracks long and straight from the opener 'Shotgun Houses' we're offered perfect, pure vocals, and a gentle, understated melody that builds in intensity as the track progresses. 'Heroin' raises the tempo, and again there is a freshness and clarity in the vocals, and the song is simply so catchy that you'll find it difficult not to like. In both the opening tracks, as often the case with good folk bands of this style, the performance of the musicians immediately stands out too - the violin in particular is just a delight to listen to. 'Old Man' really demonstrates the strength of the tenor and soprano harmonies, whilst the track itself has a dreamy and melancholy feel. 'The Ghost of the Past' is a playful dance of a song, and whilst I generally have an issue with whistling in songs, I'll forgive it in this context. 'The Feather & The Rock' has a different softer feel to it, with a sumptuous piano line to open and the song itself is less appealing to me, but as always the quality of the vocals remains unquestionable. And final track 'For the Better' has a positive, uplifting feel to conclude the album.
The appeal of this album to me is that this sounds like free spirited, talented musicians writing and playing music simply because they adore what they do. Watching the bands at the 'ACP Festival' on Sunday, almost all played with smiles on their faces and I would imagine it would be the same when watching 'Songs for Iris'. Of course, the obvious caveat will be that if you don't appreciate music influenced by traditional folk styles, then I'm not suggesting you will like 'Mending'. And in my opinion that the strongest tracks on the album are earlier on, but I'm convinced there is an untapped audience in the UK who would love this album for its beautiful melodies and skilled musicianship, and I hope we can do our little bit to spread the word.
Nordic Music Review 8/10