Plàsi 🇸🇪 - ‘Foreign Sea’ (Album)
Not quite so many new Nordic album releases this week, but that’s fine, it’s allowed me to catch up on a lot on January stuff that I missed - check out this feature for more details. But I did want to write a little more on the new Plàsi release entitled ‘Foreign Sea’ because he is an artist that I’ve written about previously and his soft, expressive songwriting has fairly widespread appeal.
He’s of Swedish / Greek descent, and apparently his latest album came partly as a result of lockdown, when long periods of solitude prompted him to write songs. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a lot of that over the next 12 months. Musically he writes a similar style to the likes of Sufjan and also Icelandic artist Axel Flóvent, which is appropriate given the two are still planning on touring together in Autumn this year - a delayed set of dates because of the pandemic of course.
Anyway as soon as title track ‘Foreign Sea’ opens the album you’ll appreciate why Plàsi is so widely streamed, soft, intricate acoustic guitar, with a languid melodic line and his vocals perfectly balanced against the subtle instrumentation - which in this case has hints of muted brass. ‘Under My Skin’ hints at wider influences with a gentle melancholy and straight forward lyrics, whilst ‘14 Days’ remains a favourite with a piano softly setting out the musical theme.
Other highlights include the lovely ‘How Do You Know’, featuring strings and stand out guest vocals from songwriter Aisha Badru, who is well worth checking out if you haven’t come across her before, whilst the beautifully delicate ‘Missing Faith’ has a simplicity to it which makes it really engaging. The ethereal vocals of Rosemary & Garlic join Plàsi for ‘One Last Night’, whilst he wraps up the album with the very clever ‘Until Midnight’, with a Flamenco flourish and storytelling that creates a slightly different atmosphere to previous tracks.
It‘s true that ’Foreign Sea’ isn’t an album that will reach out and grab you immediately, it needs us as listeners to commit and invest time and some patience, but there is genuine warmth in the songwriting, a feeling that Plàsi is a natural songwriter who doesn’t need expansive production, just a guitar and his vocals. His European dates with Axel Flóvent (and the excellent Luminous Kid) should be really lovely, and I really hope I can make a flying visit to one of them.