Reykjavik Grapevine: Album Review: Lay Low, “Brostinn Strengur”

15 Dec

So my review of Lay Low’s “Brostin Strengur” is now online for your perusal

You know, in the past I’ve not been kind about Lay Low. On occasion I’ve said she had “an awful stage presence”, and her songs had a “crushing monotony”, And IMHO she deserved most of it at the time. While her 1st album did have a OK-ish stripped down blues sound, her 2nd second album “Farewell Good Night’s Sleep” I felt was just somebody going “oh I’ve just discovered some Huckle Shucks, Grand Ol’ Opry country from the ’60s. I’ll do some country music now”. Lots of bland melodies and slide guitars up the wazoo.

But most people’s music and attitudes don’t remain static and this is definitely the case with “Brostin Strengur”. I liked it. A lot. The songs were just much better composed and written, You can hear the maturity and confidence through the record. Take “Gleymd Mér Ei!” for example. It starts off with a heavy country acoustic and vocal style to it. But when the drums kick in, the rhythm, very subtlely changes the whole style of the sound by adding a soul element to it. the sign of someone who knows how to wield the different parts of a song to her will.

The album sounds really good as well. It twins the subtleness of the music with some real dynamism, the sort that I’ve been pleading bands to try to strive for in their recordings in 2011. She’s applied some real atmospherics, but hasn’t drowned the music in incessant bombast in the belief that it’ll make the album sound “big”. This means that when the power kicks in, such as the initial drum roll on “Helganga”, it makes you sit up and take notice. You also find yourself hearing certain things, such as the whistling wind sounds on “Lifið” or when the freak out part on “Brostinn Strengur” finishes, leaving just the drums, bass and a smattering of reverb/echo to make a real sense fullness.

A couple of things though – “Vonin” sounds so much like a Sin Fang song, i almost thought it was a cover or something at first. Also, what’s up with the picture on the album cover? what was she reading? What’s going through her head? Was she thinking about how what she read has impacted her, or if she thinking that now would be a good time for nachos? WE NEED TO KNOW!!

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Posted by on December 15, 2011 in Iceland, literature, music


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