Simon Lynge – Deep Snow (Integrity Records)
|Simon Lynge - Deep Snow|
Release Date: 23rd November 2018
I don’t often get the time to really absorb an album these days and that’s a real shame because sometimes a good album needs ten or fifteen listens to really get the meat out of it. Fortunately, thanks to a generous lead in time on this album, I’ve had a good two weeks of listening to this beauty from Greenland’s Simon Lynge and it has been well worth it. I can’t recommend ‘Deep Snow’ enough but if you’re going to take up my recommendation then be prepared to commit some time to really getting to now this LP and its many layers.
Recent single ‘Age of Distraction’ opens up proceedings with an upbeat melody but downbeat take on the state of humanity right now, “something isn’t working, kids are suicidal, let’s fall in love with Mother Nature again”. It’s a strong start and probably the most commercial, Jack Johnson-esque track on the album but this is only the beginning of a much more interesting journey. ‘Paper Thin’ is up next with a piece of gloriously wintery folk acoustic finger picking and Lynge’s vocals coming on with all the delicate positivity of someone trying to rouse themselves from the depths of a deep depression. “When you feel old like a great soul and the trees have lost all their leaves, hold me gently, skin is paper thin” sings our unassuming hero in one of myriad examples of superbly honest lyricism.
In terms of ear-worms, ‘Automatic Outcome’ wins hands down on this album as the gentle guitar strum bounces along with a shuffled beat, Jim Noir meets David Kitt subdued energy and flurries of woodwind that come in like wind through a hastily closed door. ‘Twentynine Years’ is a deeply sad but cathartic song lamenting the loss of a father at too young an age and, for me, this is the track that the whole album hangs off. The honesty of emotion and rawness of the subject material means that this song sings with resonance but needs to be nestled in the safety of the middle of this album; “for Twentynine years I’ve been trying to feel whole again and I’m failing”.
Talking a long, deep breath we move on to the clear folk picking of ‘Born in to a War’ which is a Dylan inspired gentle protest at the war-like properties of adult life which starts earlier and earlier these days. My favourite lyric of the album features on ‘Born in to a War’ as Lynge dryly delivers the line “pay your bills with a broken smile and laugh when you retire” with an ironic smirk about his mouth. The ominous, breathy tones of ‘They’ are utterly timeless but have a lo-fi purity that makes for sumptuous listening and, I would suggest, would make for a great soundtrack to rolling through the countryside on a train on a grey and uninspiring day. I don’t necessarily understand the imagery behind ‘Tiny Ironing Board’ but you don’t need to understand it to appreciate the beauty of the sparkling piano notes playing like light dancing on the surface of an ice-cold lake as Lynge soothes with his stunning and understated vocals.
The title track from the album, ‘Deep Snow’, has a sense of determination about it as Lynge sings “I’ve got a long way to go on a dark hidden road in deep, deep snow” and you really get the sense that he is at the start of a long and arduous but deeply essential journey – both literally and metaphorically. ‘Maggie’, by contrast, is a joyful folk song hell-bent on imbuing the subject with confidence and love in a style that only Cosmo Sheldrake comes close to these days in terms of a travelling band orchestra of instruments. The album closes out with ‘Babylon Lies In Ruins’ which I was initially not a fan of (I’ve never been keen on vocals following the instrumentation melody for some reason) but given time this song evolves in to a real thing of beauty that is befitting of the album closer.
Simon Lynge is a uniquely brilliant talent in terms of his song-writing ability which is worth celebrating alone but his delivery and the way this album has been so beautifully (and painstakingly) assembled is deserving of a standing ovation. I’m also a huge fan of the fact that he’s releasing this album in his native Greenland a full 10 days before the rest of the world – this is not a man who is likely to forget his roots.
More information: https://www.facebook.com/SimonLyngeMusic/
13th November – Katuaq, Nuuk
23rd November – Hotel Cecil, Copenhagen
30th November – Penpont, Brecon
1st December – The Living Room, Bristol
3rd December – The Hospital Club, London
10th December – The Palindrome, Port Townsend
13th December – Hotel Café, Los Angeles
8th February – Hotel Cecil, Copenhagen