Release Date: 4th May 2018
I’ve been hogging this one for a while due to its utter blissfulness and late winter sparkle but as summer seems to be creeping over the horizon it seems selfish to keep it to myself any longer. This debut offering from the Danish quintet opens up with ‘Breaking’ and it is the very sound of ice cracking on a clear morning. The delicate piano and ethereal vocals of frontwoman Maria Malmo are perfectly pitched and poised as the icicles melt on the branches and the foraging animals brave the icy terrain for any treats that nature has thrown their way. ‘You’ is a more straightforward tune with an acoustic strum and shuffled beat at it’s heart but again Maria Malmo’s voice makes this stand head and shoulders above their peers.
Title track and recent single ‘We Come from the Stars’ is still just as blissfully relaxed and soothing as ever while ‘Dawn’ nervously emerges from the darkness with the lyric “The Darkest hour is the one before dawn” sung softly over some distinctly sparse instrumentation. You can’t help but be massively impressed by the delicate and finely crafted nature of these songs, as though they are made of the finest cut glass and unique in every way. ‘Meet me in the Meadow’ steps things up a bit to create a sound akin to Malka or Sia at her most eccentric with a sense of joy and giddy glee in its heart. There’s a touch of homesickness behind the piano ballad of ‘Homeland’ while ‘The Way’ could easily feature on the opening scene of the next series of Game of Thrones such is the tribal beat and spooky, other-worldly atmosphere it creates before erupting in to a gloriously unexpected but oh-so welcome crescendo.
The surprises and direction changes continue on ‘Time & Tide Wait for No Man’ as a plucked and witchy folk tale unfolds like a 6 Day Riot track and it’s all too easy to get lost in this world of imagined creatures and upside-down pictures. On ‘Wild Horses’, the gently plucked guitar notes ring out in to the night sky and Maria Malmo’s almost whispered vocal is borderline uncomfortable in my English ears through these intimate headphones but it is hypnotically soothing in the best way possible. As we near the denouement of this sonic journey, we are treated to more subtle musicianship on ‘Four Lands’ as well as some sumptuous vocal harmonies. The closing track, ‘River of the Heart’, is a something of a lullaby as heard through the cracks in time seeping in to your consciousness as you drift in to the kind of slumber that could last for generations if you give yourself to it. Malmo won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, they don’t crave your attention or approval but if you can stop the hurly-burly of the world around you for long enough to let them in then your world will be infinitely improved for that moment of patience and peace.
More information: https://www.facebook.com/mariamalmoe/
12th May – Bora Bora, Aarhus