From Iceland — Homey and Cosy

Homey and Cosy

Published December 5, 2011

Homey and Cosy

We are in a small church, beside a small lake, in a small city in the far, far North. On a not-so cold November night, Christ, arms aloft in a gesture of welcome (or an attempt to kill his followers with his likely funky body odour), is lambent with red and green disco lights, which rotate in mesmerising patterns across his image. A girl in a red dress is singing in a soft, sweet voice the poetry of her forebears.

Thus the stage is set for the release concert of ‘Brostinn Stregur,’ the most recent album by Lay Low, singer/songwriter Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir of local (and even a bit of international) renown. The church, Fríkirkjan on Lækjargata, proved to be a good setting for the concert and matched well to the extraordinarily laid back sound of Lay Low herself. The band provided the aforementioned disco lights, and the stage was further decorated with lamps of the kind usually found in your grandparent’s living room. Tassels abounded. This cosy feeling, combined with the happy-family interactions of the band members made for a pleasant, chilled out show.

The concert started off a bit on the slow side atmosphere-wise, but once things got warmed up it was all very down-home nice, the most awesome moment being when Lovísa left the stage to go and hug her grandparents (who have just moved back to Iceland from Portugal in case you wanted to know). Lovely.

Obviously, the focus was on songs from the new album, ‘Brostinn Strengur’ (which is made up of songs based on poems by Icelandic female poets), and the album seems to continue down the same twangy, lonesome Americana path, through which Lay Low has made her name, though with a somewhat more complex and harder sound coming through, some songs even having a bit of an electronic feel (woo). The classics were also performed, mixing things up a bit, which was nice.

If there are any complaints it would be that the seats at Fríkirkjan are insanely uncomfortable, and if they want to hire their church out be used by people other than masochistic church goers, then maybe they should consider a more comfortable seating arrangement. Overall though, it was a good concert. Nothing to amaze, but homey and cosy and all that, and though this isn’t usually seen as a good thing, I found it cool that it was music that could justify eyes-shut listening.

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