The men who sing

Having got out of reviews of nearly academic Faroese music, we cross the borders sharply and find ourselves in the neighbouring regions – actuality of all sorts (ranging from tragicomic Budam to romantic Marius Ziska). Today’s five albums are, of course, very different, but they are akin by men. Incredibly gifted men who sing. And what is more – gloomy covers.

Petur Pólson «Koma» (Tutl, 2006)

Petur Pólson adores Fyodor Dostoevsky (you can read my interview with him here). So, it’s no wonder, that his music is so moody (unfortunately, I don’t know Faroese language, but I suspect, that there are no sun, birds and flowers in the lyrics). However, this is not a reason why they should be less beautiful, and moreover, despite the taste for alternative music, remain Faroese.  Pólson remembers his origins and the special melodies of his motherland sounds even in a most unlikely place. In the solo works (the musician, besides, seldom releases albums under his own name, preferring collaborations), he perfected the band Clickhaze. Well, there are no roar of guitars and Eivør Pálsdóttir here, but one can still find some common themes. Petur’s debut solo record begins with an extremely melodious and cheerful «Jarðarferð». It sets the style of the whole album, holding you tightly  till the song «Koma»: melancholic wonder (this epithet can be applied to all songs in this album), while listening to it, you want to look at the ocean and sit at its shore. Just like, according to the brochure, our main character does it. By the way, charming Guðrið Hansdóttir also took part in the album recording, who had recorded not a single album at the time. You can hear her voice in «Fremmandur», «Ekkó» (Petur and Guðrið in duet here) and «Synd». Generally, I’m looking forward to my acquaintance another two musician’s albums — «Tokyó» (2009) and «Transit» (2011). Moreover, it’s time to release the new one.

Budam «Stories Of Devils, Angels, Lovers And Murderers» (Tutl, 2007)

Budam can be called a Faroese Tom Waits. Besides, some songs in the album «Stories Of Devils, Angels, Lovers And Murderers» are so similar to him (consider «Clap Hands», for example), that the Faroese can seem deliberately imitating his style. Like, for instance, the Russian band Billy’s Band did it (and, actually, still does). Despite the obvious imitation, actually, the record comes to be not a miserable reflection, but, on the contrary, be superior to original somehow. The collapse begins somewhere in «Do That Thing». Tom Waits has aplenty of blues songs, and erotic groaning of Eivør Pálsdóttir, of course, makes this song unique, but, despite this, it’s obviously modeled without Wait’s “dough”. As, actually (by a stretch of imagination, though) all following «The Yoni» and «Da Da Dey Da Dey». The final song in this record ,«Gabriel's Song», is, in fact, almost a masterpiece. Incredibly beautiful and striking duet with Eivør, decorated with a magic violin solo from the owner of the most unusual house in the Faroes and our compatriot Nikolaos Kapnas. Unfortunately, I know very little of him, but his disused Facebook account tells, that (besides the photo-report from the building site of the abovesaid house) he was born in Tashkent.

Fróði & The Pink Slips «The Mouse» (Tutl, 2013)

A man with great vocal quality and, at the same time, Guðrið Hansdóttir’s younger brother  Fróði Hansen, released together with a band The Pink Slips  a nice alternative rock-album “The Mouse” (2013), which has at least two awesome songs – the title one «The Mouse» (with its repetend «Exit Mouse»), and «Diamond In The Rough». Fróði’s music has nothing totally new, but it’s definitely a “well-cut” record, able to bring joy to real devotees of the genre.  Fróði’s voice deserves individual praises. He’s especially good in lyrical compositions («Time Of My Life»), but loses charm in “smash hits”, like «I Feel Like Felix» (it generally drops out of the general mood due to its punk aesthetics). I’m sure, that I’ll have to write about Fróði and his music dozen times. His creativity would be just about enough for several good records. We are looking forward to it!

Marius Ziska «Recreation» (Tutl, 2013)

Another great (and, more precisely, the splendiferous) Faroese record of 2013. This time from Marius Ziska. For the musician from «Recreation» , it’s his first longplay (he released EP “Masses” in 2010), but it’s so cool, that I even shudder to think, how great the new album will be, which is released in April 17, 2015 under “Tutl” label. However, we don’t dream about things, that are only going to happen, and continue discuss what we have now. Marius is an excellent melodist and all nine compositions prove it. «Recreation» is a real feast for your ears, where you can find all sorts of food: musicians often play with styles within a sole record (from folk to alternative), enriching really wonderful Marius’ voice with impressive arrangements. Listening to this musical show is a real joy. Besides, all well-known characters are involved into recording of this album, which, in case of proper promotion, could bring unspeakable fame to his author. Yet, perhaps, the key personality after Marius is Jens L. Thomsen. He played bass and keyboard, and also played a role of record producer, moreover, he recorded and mixed it by himself. As you’ve realized, it worked perfectly.

Gestir «Burtur Frá Toftunum» (Tutl, 2006)

Faroese band Gestir released, so to say, an iconic album «Burtur Frá Toftunum» in 2006, created a real sensation on the Faroes and neighbouring regions, and then just disappeared. For a wonder, Jens L. Thomsen again appears as a record producer (I suspect, it’s a kind of a quality label). The main character here is Ólavur Jákupsson, who’s written, played and sung a major part of songs of this album. «Burtur Frá Toftunum» is a mere drama. Some compositions really make the heart soar. After the typical for “alternatives” “Hvørt Fótafet”, Gestir implies, that it’s not all as easy as it sounds. «Sum Urt» is not even a song, it’s a total sorrow, which you don’t want to get rid of, because it’s fantastically beautiful. Apart from Ólavur’s magnetic voice, the string quartet creates a special atmosphere. All this splendor smacks like a mix of Muse and Radiohead from time to time. Only Gestir sounds more sincerely sometimes, and more lively indeed.

Reviewer by Anton Kovalsky.

Translated by Irina Boiko.

Russian version reviewer.