'Elvar' -'Daydreaming' (album)
We were going to publish a short write up of Icelandic singer-songwriter 'Elvar's new single on Wednesday, this week but I so enjoyed listened to the whole album that I thought we should expand our feature slightly. His new(ish) release 'Daydreaming' is a warm, interesting and well written album which takes folk, pop and rock influences from across the last few decades, and whilst I doubt anyone would claim that he's forged groundbreaking musical genres in the process, I really think that everyone will enjoy all 10 tracks that comprise the release.
So 'Daydreaming' is 'Elvar's' debut album, which saw the light of day in the last couple of months, and he only released his debut single back in November - and my attempts to track down previous bands (or even if he was in a high school thrash metal outfit...) failed. But the new album has been produced by none other than 'legendary' Icelandic musician and composer Pétur Ben, so he has some amazing support behind him, and I think that clearly shows in such a confident debut.
I'll suggest some highlights. The album opens with 'Skyscraper' and it's just got a really appealing intro for the first 10 seconds which immediately seems reassuring, and then it develops with an attractive melodic feel, before opening up with an intriguing instrumental section where the synths strangely remind me of 'Army of Moths' (check out 'AoM's track 'Jones' some 2 minutes 30 in to possibly get my point...) and it's all rather lovely. 'Runaway Heart' is more rock inspired, with a big chorus and huge crescendo to finish, whilst 'Gone for Good' is a deeply sad but also uplifting track with country and folk influences, which opens up with another catchy chorus, and has the most heart wrenching video to go with it. And I particularly like the stripped back acoustic guitar and vocals in 'One of a kind' which gently carry the track forward, a more traditional songwriter style song which is conveyed with warmth.
'Looking for Higher Ground' feels like a centrepiece of the album with another big chorus, but again it's a more languid track that appeals in particular, as 'Silent Shadow' disappears off into the distant hills with a gorgeous tune and lovely lyrics, whilst I have a huge soft spot for 'Everybody Party' which heads leftfield with a blast of synths contrasting with the soft vocals, building up to a joyous chorus - I like the polarisation of sounds. But actually my favourite track on the album is 'Over and Out', because again there are contrasts between the heavier guitars and easy going melodies, this time with some apparently atonal quirks thrown in for good measure. The album then ends with 'Daydreaming', which has a more anthemic and positive feel to conclude.
This is possibly quite a personal thing, but 'Daydreaming' really appeals to me because it doesn't feel confined to a genre, and it's not trying to be something it isn't - Elvar is simply a good songwriter releasing interesting, melodic songs with thoughtful lyrics and an appealing blend of guitars and synths. He may not be heading to a big festival stage near you, but he is a natural intuitive musician writing free flowing tracks in a Nordic spirit, and we're delighted to bring both him and 'Daydreaming' to your attention.