Myrkvi - Skyline (single from forthcoming album)
Myrkvi (‘Eclipse’) is the nom de plume of Icelandic indie-newcomer Magnús Thorlacius, who must be one of the 5% of so of people in that country who doesn’t have a patronym (-son or –dóttir), unless Thorlacius is a middle name or something.
Magnús literally burst onto the Icelandic music scene in 2014. He formed an indie rock band called Vio, and within four weeks they had won the Icelandic Battle of the Bands (‘Músíktilraunir’), with Magnús receiving the Best Singer Award. Previous Músíktilraunir winners include Of Monsters and Men, Samaris and Vök. Vio then went on to release chart-topping singles and to sign with big label Sena, with which they released a debut album which was nominated as Rock Album of the Year at the Icelandic Music Awards 2015. That is some pedigree.
Vio is still around and working on a ‘comeback’ album. It seems you don’t have to be out of the frame for long in Iceland to qualify for one of those.
But for now Magnús focuses on this solo project. His first single, 'Sér Um Sig', was released in January 2020. That one was in Icelandic as you guessed and did well, reaching the #2 spot on the main radio chart in Iceland. 'Skyline' is his first internationally promoted single in the English language.
It is about the end of a relationship, its icy slope and helpless free fall, (perhaps it should have been called ‘Skyfall’ or has someone else done that?!) and the structure of the song is intended to resemble such a fall.
Magnús says of it, “The end station of a relationship is bleak and despairing. There is a certain contrast between the verses and chorus of 'Skyline': the verses describe this slow departure ‘drifting away... fading out... sliding downhill...” while the chorus relates a swift turnaround where the line is cut in one weekend. Relationships can end swiftly but the feelings linger on and the emotional connection needs its own time to fade out. ‘I'm losing my baby again and there's nothing that I can do’.”
It looks as if he reached his own end of the line before writing it as he adds, “Defeated and dejected, luckless in love yet again, I could not have been more de-motivated to start again. Writing this song helped me with that and now I’m back on the horse and racing! Melancholy songs can evoke the whole range of emotions, certainly not only the blue ones but also peace and serenity, understanding and empathy, hope and compassion. An integral part of the process of overcoming difficulties is to have some means of expression. My outlet has always been music."
There’s a positive vibe in the song, which runs contrary to the material. There’s a strong melody line but you might not pick it up straight away. The vocal is perhaps a little too highly pitched early on but once he gets into what I guess is his normal tenor range he doesn’t look back. As the song progresses it picks up something of an engaing C&W style in the vocal, guitar and bass.
More proof, if it were needed, that the Icelandic music scene continues to thrive.
‘Skyline’ was released today and the debut album arrives later this year.