A documentary about indie group the National, presented at this year's Tribeca Film Festival
A lively avant garde pop scene has developed in Iceland in the wake of artists like Bjork and Sigur Ros, who have given visibility to the creative talent that seems to bubble up from the island like its famous hot springs. Singer-songwriter Ólöf Arnalds is the most recent case in point, her new album performed entirely in the language of the country’s southern neighbour – English. ’Sudden Elevation’ is released by One Little Indian, Bjork’s label. It’s an album as alluring as the nation from which it was borne, full of love and passion against a starkly beautiful background. The spring-water pure vocals contain the spirits of the land – each song almost a little fable in the Nordic tradition. It’s difficult to place this music in a box, except to say it has the textures of its native land with its unchanging landscapes, its contrasts of long nights and long days, of darkness, of light. Despite being in English, it could only have been recorded in Iceland. The opener, ‘German Fields’, draws you in with its insistent rhythms, its barely restrained sense of celebration. It lfts you up in to the bright, clean morning. As with Arnalds other records, ‘Sudden Elevation’ was produced by Sugercubes’ Skuli Sverrison, which ensures it’s quality rarely laspes and the singer remains firmly rooted in the sounds of home. One of the stand-out album of the new year.