For my first Wednesday post, I'd like to take some time to talk about the band I'm obsessed with at the moment, Árstíðir. I was also obsessed with them earlier in the year and got three of their albums (well, one of them was a live concert album, so not really any new music, but still). For those of you who don't know who Árstíðir is, they are an Icelandic indie-folk/chamber band that uses a lot of string instruments, such as piano, guitar, cello, and violin. They make absolutely beautiful music, and I love them.
But I will refrain from making this entire blog post about me gushing about how much I love this band. Instead, I'm going to try to make it a bit more professional and review the band's music like an art critic. I'll talk about style, lyrics, instrumentation, and some other details that I find interesting about Árstíðir. For those of you who'd like to check them out, click here for a link to their website. So, without further ado, let's jump right into it.
Árstíðir (which means "seasons" in Icelandic, for those who'd like to know), as I mentioned, is an Icelandic indie-folk/chamber band. All three of those elements (Icelandic, indie-folk, and chamber) work together seamlessly to make a style of music that is pretty unique to them. Almost all of Árstíðir's songs are lyrical in nature, and their melodies are in general very melodic (shocker) and rich in sound. One of the things that I found most interesting about the band is the fact that some of their songs are in Icelandic and some are in English. Now, some people might find it weird for me to say this, but I love listening to the Icelandic lyrics, maybe even more so than the English ones. The Icelandic language compliments the voices of the band (and yes, all four current members of the band sing) so very well, giving it a rich, vibrant feel that really comes to life when the harmonies start playing off of each other and the instruments.
Árstíðir's music has quite a dramatic feel to it. Most of their songs are in some way leaning towards the more lonely emotions, stretching through the spectrum from sad, contemplative, nostalgic songs to dark, driving, passionate ones. The thing that drew me most to Árstíðir, however, is their string accompaniment--by which I mean the various violins and cellos that play throughout most of the songs. I've always enjoyed those instruments the most out of any others and hearing them so perfectly in tandem with the Icelandic words and the other instrumentation still gives me shivers.
Now, I haven't actually gotten around to looking up what the Icelandic lyrics mean in any of the songs, but there are some songs that I feel like I can just tell what the lyrics mean, just by the way they are being sung. Take Ljóð í sand for instance. The nostalgia and longing inherent in the voices of the band paints an entire picture in your mind, even though it might be impossible to guess what the specific meaning of the song is. And even though it is definitely sad that is very difficult to try to sing along with a song sung in a language you don't know, I still adore the Icelandic songs and their incredible sound.
The songs written in English, which become more prevalent on their newest album, Hvel, also have a story to tell, and they tell it very, very well. From Things You Said to Shine to You Again to my personal favorite song of theirs, Shades, Árstíðir's lyrics in English are poetic and meaningful. I can imagine that their lyrics in Icelandic are ten times so--if they can be that imaginative in a secondary language, how much more poetic must they be in their native tongue?
I would very much encourage everyone reading to give Árstíðir a listen. Their music is simply gorgeous, and I don't think anyone could disagree with that. Even if indie-folk music isn't your cup of tea, Árstíðir has some amazing things to offer, and I believe you'll like at least one of their songs, even if you don't become as obsessed as I have.
Well, I think I'm going to go listen to some Árstíðir and anticipate seeing them in concert in Middleton on July 11th as a birthday present to myself (my birthday is on the twelfth, but whatever). Tickets are only $15, and there are still plenty left, so if you like Árstíðir's sound and have some extra cash for a concert, you should totally join me!
As always, thanks for reading! I appreciate it so much. Feel free to leave me a comment on this post and tell me what you liked, or if you liked Árstíðir, what your favorite song is! You can also contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.