Krómantík (Morr Music)
Result: 4.6 / 5.0
The saying goes “good thinks come in small packages”. This is something that will ring very true with Icelandic singer/songwriter and composer Sóley as she has not only recently celebrated the birth of her first child, but also because she has created a perfectly formed packet of songs by way of her mini-album Krómantík.
Sóley’s lineage in the Icelandic music scene is far reaching. She is a founding member of local indie rockers Seabear, the keyboard player in Sindri Mar Sigfusson’s solo project Sin Fang as well as a contributor to numerous other musical projects. And with the flurry of international attention she gained from the release of her debut album We Sink back in 2011, it’s little wonder she has taken her time in producing a follow up… it’s safe to say, she’s been pretty busy.
Krómantík is not a new album as such and isn’t a new fully fledged second album (that will follow next year) but stands as a companion piece that bridges the gap between We Sink and her sophomore record. It’s a collection of instrumental piano pieces composed over the course of the past few years that have been penned in support of various projects Sóley has been involved in but, as a whole, it serves as an invaluable insight, not only into her songwriting, but also her psyche.
Opening track ‘Stiklur’ sets the tone for the collection with its brooding piano melody and sinister, creaking sound effects that sit just off in the distance. The prevailing minor chords and climbing and falling scales draw you into the off-kilter world of Krómantík like a desolate lullaby.
As the collection segues into ‘Kaósmúsík’ and the title track itself, things get a little creepy, but also bring to the fore an ominous beauty, conjuring up visions of a 1920s music hall in the early hours of the morning, the reverb soaked “oohs” hovering among the delicate piano notes like the ghosts of the long dead can-can dancers. The closing track ‘Swing’ completes the cycle with echos of the opening track running through it, but the notes ring out in a more haphazard and elemental way, bringing Krómantík full circle.
With eight tracks running in at sixteen minutes, Krómantík is a sharp, concise collection of songs that harbours plenty of sinister beauty and dark energy and, like any good horror movie, you’ll want to revisit the malevolent recesses of Krómantík again and again.