Iceland has always had strong ties to folk music and has been responsible for nurturing some of the greatest talent on the world stage such as Jónsi and Björk but it would seem that despite this the music of Iceland if often overlooked. Thankfully the country is still producing phenomenal bands and artists such as Sóley.
Sóley is a truly astounding contemporary folk-pop artist who first found her fame as a member of the popular indie-folk band Seabear back in 2006. Since then she has worked tirelessly in a variety of projects including taking the leap as a solo artist. 2011 saw the release of her debut solo album We Sink and 2015 will soon be seeing the release of her eagerly anticipated second album. Four years on We Sink is still fresh in our ears, a ceaselessly wonderful album that truly broke the mould when it was released.
Sóley has a wonderfully unique style in both her vocals and her performance. Her voice is haunting, enigmatic and compassionate, filled with a tender emotion that dances through her mysterious compositions. To listen to Sóley’s work is to listen to a dark form of folk-pop; soulful lullaby medleys such as Smashed Birds are interspersed with a subtle darkness that has echoes of the Icelandic culture and folk tales littered throughout. She is able to provide comforting and charming melodies in equal measure to songs that border on the sinister. Songs such as Kill the Clown and Fight Them Soft are tinged with elements of the macabre, exhilarating and thrilling whilst hauntingly beautiful.
She is a lyrical force to be reckoned with; sung primarily in English her words have the power to inspire awe, mystery, charm and even hints of terror – all of which is complimented by her tremendous and ethereally stunning vocals. Utterly distinctive and inimitable, her voice feels as if it is drifting through your very core and swirling around you like smoke. When accompanied by her deeply emotive piano medleys her music becomes increasingly powerful, carrying weight with every word and note and whisking you away to somewhere unimaginable.
Sóley’s music is grandiose, emotive, adaptive – it practically evolves with every changing chord. Songs such as Smashed Birds are simple, tender tunes that have the capacity to whisk you away but as the album progresses it becomes increasingly unpredictable and mystifying. It’s a truly exciting album that leaves you guessing where each song will lead you next, a tumultuous collection of emotions that changes like the weather. One moment you are encircled by the booming resonant sound of orchestrations and the next you’re lingering on the edge of a darkened carnival with gently tinkling circus music echoing in your ears.
We Sink is deeply evocative, pulling you into a fragile and mesmerizing world of Sóley’s own creation. Like being pulled through the looking glass, it’s a thrilling and exhilarating album that adapts itself before you. Ever surprising, uplifting, melancholic and even tense at times, Sóley has one of the most haunting charms ever to find its way into music. We Sink is a truly experimental piece of folk music that thrives in the contemporary world yet somehow feels as if it carries some form of ancient magic within it.
For more information on Sóley, check out her Facebook page here: