There is a real gem on this new offering from Lára Rúnars. It is about halfway in, and is a delicious slice of sunny 80’s style synth pop, that goes down well with a summer barbecue and a glass of something cold. By the time the trumpets kick in on ‘Frelsi’ your neighbors will be dancing around too.
It’s a surprise because the rest of the album is relatively dark. The album starts with the bleak and occasionally jarring ‘Rósir’, before moving on to a darkly brass filled ‘Ölgusjór’ which could easily be the theme tune for a Nordic crime series.
‘Lofum Gyllta Jöro’ is a sparse ballad, and a decent showcase for Lara’s impressive vocal talents, but does mark a loss of momentum to proceedings. ‘Mistur’ and ‘Sláttur’ are somewhat formulaic.
Lára’s last album Moment was a bit of a mess, a seemingly failed record label attempt at propelling her into the mainstream, misplaced English lyrics and all, where as Þel feels much less contrived. Whatever the reason for the misfire, and despite that it’s been a long time since collaborations with Damien Rice, or showcase concerts for high profile music magazines, it finally feels like Lára is back in the saddle again, and Þel is much, much stronger as a result.
Edward Hancox lives in in the United Kingdom with his wife and two small, noisy children but spends as much time as he can in Iceland. Music—especially contemporary Icelandic music—is his other passion. He writes about both subjects for Iceland Review and in his debut book, Iceland, Defrosted. He does not consider himself an expert on anything.