Label: Rökkurró Music
04. Killing Time
05. The Backbone
06. White Mountain
07. The In Between
09. Blue Skies
11. Red Sun
NBHAP Rating: 3,5/5
Did Iceland Do It Again?
Something about the disquieting and unique Icelandic landscapes must spark musical inspiration. RÖKKURRÓ’s new album, Innra, experiments with a mixture of hauntingly personal lyrics and fascinatingly diverse sounds. Whether singing in English or Icelandic, RÖKKURRÓ, at their most exciting, can be extraordinarily foreign to the ear of most listeners. The heartfelt vocals smoothly form around the synth and folk instruments alike creating an atmosphere that arises straight out of the culture that produced both BJÖRK and SIGUR RÓS.
A Mixture of the Banal and Extraordinary
As their influences range from ultra-artsy to the tragic harmonies of bands like OTHER LIVES and SHEARWATER, so do their songs. While in some tracks, RÖKKURRÓ keenly accommodate a range of ideas and techniques, in others, the vocals can be accompanied by rather bland choices in instrument. White Mountain brings the classical piano and pure vocals to the fore creating a clarity that is lost in some of their more experimental pieces. But, equally, this song, and others on the album that affiliate themselves too closely to a specific genre, remove some of the deeply individual elements from their sound. Borders, on the other hand, opens the album with an engaging glimpse into their playful mixtures of classical and synthetic. It is at these moments, and not their more conservative pieces, that the band is at their best.
Hear Them Out
The In Between, an extraordinary track of mismatched instruments and the band’s ubiquitous yet still powerful vocals, characterises the most appealing parts to the record. Although RÖKKURRÓ can, at times, fall into a repetitive structure to their songs, with soft openings and pondering female vocals, at its best, this album is simultaneously provocative and compelling. Often producing thought-provoking work, it may just be that the small, Northern nation has released yet another unique inclusion into the music world.
‘Innra’, RÖKKURRÓ’s third album, is not only their first one written in English but also a solid step towards new territory while keeping their likey Icelandic heritage musically alive.