• Andy Wors

Axel Flóvent - 'How Can I' (single)


I'm not sure for what exact reason, but I’m trying to work out how old Icelandic indie folk musician Axel Flóvent is now. I think he’s just 24 year old. We first wrote about him in 2015, when he released his debut EP ‘Forest Fires’ and I’m pretty sure he was only about 19 at the time, but he’s always written with such an assured maturity that it’s difficult to judge.


Maybe he’s doing everything in reverse, and by the age of 60 will be still writing and performing, but as a veteran punk rocker, smashing guitars routinely at the end of the gig before performing ‘Quiet Eyes’ as an encore. Or maybe I’m getting just a little carried away.


Of course every musician goes on some type of ‘journey of discovery’, and for Axel his seemed to involve firstly his move to Amsterdam from Húsavík in Iceland around the time of the release of 'Forest Fires', then subsequently on to Brighton where he recorded the 2018 EP ‘Youthful Hearts’, before more recently returning to Iceland, this time settling in Reykjavík. By the same time in my life, I’d not made it north of Yeovil.

I don’t normally find ‘Spotify Streams’ an impressive measure of ‘success’, but Flóvent has amassed a hugely impressive number, with that early track ‘Forest Fires’ reaching almost 44 million streams, and collectively his songs must be close to the 100 million mark - which in revenue terms equates to exactly 3 pints of beer and a packet of pork scratchings in Reykjavík.


Ok for legal reasons I need to emphasise I made that up actually, I don’t even know if they have pork scratchings in Reykjavík.


Oh yes, the new song, it’s called ‘How Can I’ and it is of course lovely, with the vocals typically impressive. His songs are so stripped back that every nuance and emphasis in his voice can be heard. In particular I like the gentle muted brass accompaniment that’s introduced in the chorus – at least I think that’s what it sounds like, it’s all so subtle I can barely hear them.


Lyrically it’s personal but simple too ‘’I want to be there for you, but how can I when I’m never there for myself’ / Because I wasted all my time thinking I should be someone else’’.


Take a listen.

You can find Axel Flóvent on the brand new Nordic Music Review Indie playlist, which you can find here and also includes the likes of fellow Icelandic artist Red Barnett – his new song is fantastic.


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