Autumn Skies - The Reykjavik Grapevine

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Snorri Helgason

Autumn Skies

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Published February 3, 2014

What beautiful sounds this album delivers; it’s simply a brilliantly-designed and controlled set of pastoral pop songs that delivers an intensity of loving thoughts and vignettes through a largely acoustic palette. Snorri’s voice is smooth on the country-blues title tracks that bookend the album, first the guitar version and later with piano in full effect. There’s much late-summer wooziness on show, too, such as the wistful, shimmering “Berlin” and the Eels-ish single “Summer Is Almost Gone,” which doesn’t so much seep from the speakers as ooze. Snorri, meanwhile, ruminates on the dying embers of a relationship.

The middle of the album contains two extraordinarily high points: first, the aching, elegiac “Poor Mum,” featuring the pure, close-mic, throat-y and float-y female vocals. The only Icelandic-delivered track on the record is “Kveðja,” which seems a waste of the assonant and rich sonic possibilities on offer. It’s a small quibble only; there are some lovely moments still to come, not least the 1950s fairground blues of “Big Wheels,” all arpeggios and dramatic fuzzy guitar interventions. “There’s so much we can learn from each other’s eyes,” he sings, voice creaking at the edges. From voices, and ears, too, it seems.

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