Àsgeir – In The Silence
For a wee windswept rock, Iceland has a mighty musical heart. Its latest export, Ásgeir Trausti, looking like a cross between Daniel Brühl and the Norse god Thor, is smashing records set by label-mates and fellow islanders Björk and Sigur Rós. His snappily-titled first LP Dryd í dauðaþögn is the country’s best-selling debut from a local, and In The Silence is its wholesale translation, re-recorded in English (with the help of John Grant, no less).
A first listen might trigger Bon Iver, log cabins, and wistful Scandinavian serenity, but beyond the vaporous vocals and bucolic guitar there’s a richness and craftsmanship to the record which justifies his volcanic, chart-topping ascent. Trumpets and synths bubble up unexpectedly, some tracks swerve with neon electronica, and Grant’s remarkable work in reimagining the source poetry (mostly penned by Àsgeir’s dad) articulates an exultant lyricism, rendering an already enchanting album even more potent for a new audience. [George Sully]