Published February 23, 2015
Rökkurró’s third album ‘Innra’ (or “inner”) comes to us four years after their quiet but stunning sophomore outing, ‘Í annan heim’. On ‘Innra’, the band’s palate has expanded, the sound broadened. It is an eclectic album tied together by quivering soprano vocals, delicate piano whispers, and sensitive drumming. One can hear influences of jazz, electro-lounge (think Zero 7 or perhaps pre-“Chandelier” Sia), and even disco, but the songs all come from one collective voice that is Rökurró. The piano in particular is a smart balance against pulsing electronics, a human touch among the machinery of electronic beats and synths.
The album’s standout tracks are the most surprising ones, especially compared to the ambience of the last one. Opening track “Borders” literally borders on cabaret jazz when it opens, transitioning to a more downtempo shuffle. “Hunger” introduces a danceable mix of disco beats and electronics, the text coyly suggesting “finding all your demons and introducing them to mine.” “Backbone” has a soundtrack-like sparseness, a Moby-like piano line, and a gentle chorus in a mixed meter.
“Blue Skies” is one of the few less successful tracks on ‘Innra’, a slightly alt-folk tune with an anthem-like chorus. This is a rare moment on the album that feels at best borrowed from other Icelandic pop colleagues, or at worst a bit formulaic, a chorus of background voices to hum along to.
Unlike Rökkurró’s earlier works, ‘Innra’ has only one Icelandic track among otherwise all English-language songs. The English texts have certainly widened the scope of the band’s potential for foreign audiences. But “Flugdrekar” (or “kite,” literally “flying dragon” in Icelandic) is still a good representation of the band’s identity. The track is dark and evocative, and speaks of the need to fly away, to let things go. Rökkurró has let go of any of their past notions, and is quickly flying to great heights.
Rökkurró’s website: www.rokkurro.com