I'm not going to write too much about the new Júníus Meyvant album, because I do think that it will get covered in a fair few other places, and I'd like to write about a few diverse Independent acts that probably won't get the same attention. But, as expected, it is such a beautifully written and performed soul folk album - slick, sophisticated and backed up with the most lovely instrumental arrangements.
Hopefully everyone is pretty familiar with the Icelandic singer songwriter, born as Unnar Gísli Sigurmundsson in the Westland Islands, and who's album 'Floating Harmonies' was one of our Albums of the Year in 2016. His new album 'Across the Borders' was recorded with fellow Icelandic musician and engineer Guðmundur Kristinn Jónsson at the Hljóðriti Studio, and they've made a really good job of it.
I'm not going to go through every track, but straight from the start of 'Lay Your Head' there is a real finesse, with silky vocals and delicate string arrangements, but the quality really shines through with the gorgeous 'Love Child', whilst for some reason unknown to me 'Holidays' puts a huge smile on my face, and the strings are really in their element on title track 'Across the Borders', but as in all the tracks always used in an understated subtle way that never takes over the music.
I particularly enjoy the horn led 'New Waves' along with the slightly frenetic musical arrangements towards the end and similarly 'Punch Through the Night' is quirkily bright and irresistible, it feels almost like a guilty pleasure but it's my favourite song on the album. 'Draw the Line' and 'Until the Last Minute' tone things down slightly, and whilst they may not quite have the style of the opening tracks, they make up for it with the most gorgeous vocal melodies that carry the songs forward.
Anyway this is undeniably a stylish and cultured album from Júníus Meyvant, with the highest level of musicianship and production - whether I quite like it as much as 'Floating Harmonies' is probably irrelevant (he didn't write it for me...), but I do miss some of the more acoustic led tracks, although I just have a feeling he'll return to those roots one day. And to throw in some UK tour Promo for him too the good news is that he's coming to the UK for a few days next month, including our favourite local Manchester venue the Deaf Institute - we'll hopefully see you there....