Published February 20, 2013
In our quick fire digital music world, the concept of using album art as a primer to a band’s music seems quaint, even alien, to many people. So hats off to trio Ylja for producing a magnificent cover. Harking back to those classic ‘60s/early ‘70s UK folk albums, it opens up like a double gatefold showing the band standing on a grassy hillside. The sun-filtered photos of the band on the other side connect their music to the feeling of wind in your face and grass under your feet.
Their music, a mix of folk sounds with the odd country twang, has a rustic simplicity. Tracks such as “Óður Til Móður” and “Á Rauðum Sandi” contain an earthiness with well-picked guitars complemented by the breathy yet strong vocal harmonies. But there are too many “Dun-dun-dun-duns,” “Shooby-doooby-dum-dums” and “Aæ-Aæ-Aæs.” Folk and country should be more about telling stories through lyrics instead of vocal stylings. But for a debut album that nails what the band and their sound are about, this is definitely a very strong showing.