Review of Teitur's album 'The Singer'.
With a name that in old Norse literally means 'happy', 'The Singer', Teitur Lassen's fourth studio album (third recorded in English) sees a more optimistic approach to his folk fused country experiments. Born, raised and living in the Faeroe Islands, 'The Singer' single-handed injects a new lease of life into Scandinavia's musical exports. Winner of a Shortlist Music Award and Best Male at the Danish Music Awards he's been seen sharing stages with the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Aimee Mann, John Mayer and more recently, Radiohead. 'The Singer' is a more evolved sound. A rich symphony of textures and rhythms, with a difference in vocal delivery that has resulted in a more palatable sound, less US teen drama soundtrack. So far this guy has been largely missed by what I loathe to call western society, but here's where that changes.
Opening with the title track it's clear to see Teitur is pushing his pop song writing, yet pandering less vocally. His melody is catchy, precise. Not nearly as American college rock as he's been before. The gentle twinkle of the vibraphone and the rising strings only add weight to the brooding sense of achievement in Mr. Lassen's voice, and the lyrics aren't boastful exactly, but certainly couldn't be called modest. The arrangements on the album, however, are very modest indeed. Nothing unnecessary, nothing fancy, just a nicely stripped down sound. Almost as if Philip Glass was called in on production. Well, maybe not that leftfield, but you get the point. 'Catherine the Waitress' is a much more upbeat affair, sounding not all that dissimilar from Vampire Weekend after a heavy weekend of world music and classic rock n' roll. The album is laden with string arrangements, orchestral flurries and the same kind of brass sounds we heard on Bjork's 'Volta'. Teitur has a majestic way with story telling, conjouring up imagery as vivid as the vocal is emotive. I can see why he's now supporting Radiohead and not John Mayer.
The Singer sees a far more comfortable artist pursuing the sound he wants. He can no longer be so defined by genre as he once was. He's matured, and with that he's starting to adorn a sound akin to the influences he been struggling to match for his past three releases. Simon and Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, et al. He's mastered his song writing ability, shirked his generic pop rock twang and become The Singer.This is how indie-pop should be done. Think Born Ruffians, Modest Mouse, Wolf Parade.except from a group of islands in the heart of the Norwegian Sea. Sound interesting? I thought so.