Threaded with dewey vocals about mistakes and regrets in the face of an apocalypse ("I would give all my time for the day but the hours they fly away, and the end of time is coming your way"), (the lead track on Farao's forthcoming eponymous debut EP) "The Hours" is a listen that recalls the stripped emotional crunch of Bon Iver, sumptuous textures of Polica and bravery of Laura Marling. Starting with chiming percussion, finger picked guitar and fragile yet ensnaring vocals, it builds to a other worldly synth and sample lead crescendo.
Having grown up in frosty Valdres, lived in Oslo, written and recorded in Reykjavik and relocated to London two years ago, maybe the sprawling musical diaspora of Kari Jahnsen's debut EP should come of no surprise. Combining wistful melodies, keyboards that quietly fizz in the backdrop of her finger-picked acoustic guitar murmurs and lo-fi bumps and whistles, all infused with a wondrous Nordic iciness, this debut release might beguile like Radiohead and haunt like PJ Harvey, but make no mistake about it - Farao is a bright new talent in her own right.
Recorded with Mike Lindsay from Brit experimenters Tunng, Jahnsen found making the record amid the wintry scapes of Reykjavik an inspiring process. "Iceland is one of my favourite countries. My fantasy is to find some Icelandic Viking with a huge beard and move there one day," she says. "I actually slept in the studio too, so the whole thing was really quite intense." Jahnsen played almost all of the instruments across the four tracks here, carefully fashioning a gossamer bed of folk-pop sounds to lay her vocal ruminations on love, life and mortality on."Death is the scariest thing in the world," she explains "obviously it's a natural thing, but to me disappearing forever just doesn't make any sense."
In 2013 Jahnsen brought her unique sound to The Great Escape, Secret Garden Party and Reeperbahn festivals,as well as venues across Europe as tour support to the likes of Karl Hyde of Underworld fame, Moddi and Icelandic superstar-in-the-making Ásgeir. Making her schedule even busier are side-projects in shoegaze bandHella Better Dancer (in which Jahnsen plays drums), Anna Lena and the Orchids and new Erased Tapes signingDouglas Dare's backing band.
It's a wonder, then, that she's found any time to pen a debut album - but she's managed it all the same. That LP, to be recorded with Wild Beasts and Ghostpoet producer Richard Formby, is expected to be released in 2014, a year that will also see appearances at Eurosonic and By:Larm festivals.
In the meantime, this self-titled EP is a rich listen that teases at a bright, bright future for the newcomer. Be able to say you were there from the beginning.
Catch Farao live at the Waiting Rooms in Stoke Newington on 25th February 2014
Farao's self-titled debut EP is due for release on 10th February, 2014 via Something Nothing Records.
1. Tell A Lie
3. The Hours
4. To Sleep Apart
25th - The Waiting Room, London **Headlining Show**