Olof Arnalds - Broadcast 5th June

17 Jun 2013 , Review by Paul Montgomery

Olof Arnalds - Broadcast 5th June

Impossibly Lovely

Scandinavia had given us lots of ethereal and contemporary music over the last decade or two, with the likes of Sigur Ros, Bjork and even Royksopp going onto great things. Thankfully that output shows no sign of slowing down thanks in part to the gorgeous tones of Olof Arnalds.

First up in Broadcasts basement was the haunting Glasgow based 4 piece The Paperback Throne. Harmonically very tight, they provided a perfect ambiance amongst the very small but intimate crowd. A little awkward interaction with the crowd at times however their marriage of melancholic folk and eerie lyrics was a perfect prelude.

Olof was up next, a little late but it was more than worth it. Highly critically acclaimed and Icelands composer of the year in 2010, I was surprised at the small crowd however it mattered not as her self admittedly Diva like screwball humour and spring water crystal clear voice won them over instantly.

Her audience participation was excellent, getting the crowd to harmonize with her on Sudden Elevation. She was also captivating to look at, a light satin gown shimmering in the low lights. Her range was incredible, coming over strongly on Helena - a deeply personal song about her Guitarists daughter. It was a touching moment for the two of them and for the lucky 50 or so of us in the crowd.

Classically trained and a clear multi instrumentalist, side swipes at modern living and corporate greed were prevalent in a couple of songs with Cities To Be Destroyed being a particular peak. Her love of her homeland comes across strongly, the fact that Iceland remains untouched from the uglier side of Western Society is absorbingly endearing.

In summary, a stunning gig. Despite its intimacy and sonic landscape imagery, there was a hint of the sardonic to remind you not to take it too seriously. Her voice is quite other worldly, accessible, uplifting and heartrendingly romantic. This was a warm acoustic hug.


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