Published December 12, 2011
For her third album ‘Brostinn strengur’ (“Broken String”), Lay Low has supplied the music to words written by well known Icelandic female poets. After listening to the end result, I feel she should write tunes to other people’s lyrics more often, for ‘Brostinn Strengur’ is musically Lay Low’s strongest album to date.
As with her previous albums, there’s still a pervasive influence of country and blues, but it’s not as rote and one-dimensional as before. Both her music writing and production work now show a confidence and willingness to utilise a wider variety of styles and rhythms. One moment, she’s quiet and hushed to simple electronic manipulations (‘Kvöld í skógi’), the next she’s rocking the fuck out (‘Brostinn strengur’), which is definitely something you wouldn’t have associated with her past solo work.
The real paydirt of the album though is listening to the dual coupling of ‘Lífið’—a haunted wood of a song with its judicious use of reverb and unsettling organ and wind sounds—and ‘Helganga,’ with its perfectly timed, dynamic drum rolls and chilling choir accompaniment.
‘Brostinn strengur’ shows a growing maturity in Lay Low’s sound and songwriting, which has produced an album that’s a much more rewarding listening experience.
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