Hjaltalin - Sleepdrunk Seasons

Seeing as I’m yet to hear this album in it’s entirely, you probably wouldn’t classify this as a traditional review. Instead, I am inviting you into the process of consideration, as I try to decide whether this is an album worth investing in. The band in question, Hjaltalin, are yet another Icelandic band to emerge with a distinctly strange sound. Like their predecessors, they create music which is immediately engaging and yet ventures beyond the safe confines of standard musical technique. Whatever would we do without Iceland! After scouring the internet, I’ve managed to get a taste for this band and I find myself right on the edge of a decision about whether to buy or not.

Traffic Music – Full credit goes to Triple J for putting me onto this song. After hearing it, I immediately made a mental note to investigate further. There’s certainly an element of Sufjan Stevens’ ‘fluttery’ instrumentation here. The use flutes and subtle percussion creates a nice airy sensation. This then builds into a rather powerful chorus, growing and evolving before returning to the softer sound to finish things off. Quite impressive!

Goodbye July
– This song showcases the lead singers vocals, which could easily warrant a comparison with the voice behind Antony and the Johnsons. It too features some quite spectacular instrumentation when you listen carefully enough. Unlike the increasingly prevalent use of ‘sing along strings’ these days, the orchestral sounds here would not seem out of place in a classic Disney movie. But at the same time, I must admit that the jerky string/clarinet part towards the start can get a little annoying after a while.

Clearly this band has plenty of promise and some great songs, but I can’t help but be hesitant of their ability to create an entire album good music that will keep me coming back. I’d love to hear what you think of these two songs and whether you would buy (or have bought) the album. I need someone to tip me over the edge!


Bjarki said...

I think you should definitely go for it. The album has many other great songs. In my opinion the best new band from Iceland since Sigur Rós and múm. Hope you'll like it...

Regards from Iceland,
Bjarki Pétur

melanie said...

yo, new wolf parade album leaked:

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