Ólöf Arnalds: Við og Við (One Little Indian) 

Við og Við, Icelandic multi-instrumentalist Ólöf Arnalds' solo debut, was originally released in Iceland back in 2007, and is only finding a U.S. home this week. Opening 2010 with an album like Við og Við could perhaps inject this decade with a deep sense of melody, history and space.

Although she has been compared to Björk, Arnalds, who is also a member of the Icelandic band Múm, sounds a lot more like an Icelandic Joanna Newsom. Her vocals quaver and lilt; they are playful, yet sad and full of epic folk-music lamentation. Björk herself told National Public Radio's All Songs Considered that Arnalds' voice falls "somewhere between a child and a really old woman."

On Við og Við, Arnalds plucks a toy guitar, a ukulele and a regular guitar. Strings and horns come in occasionally, but each song is always quiet, intimate and, to pick up on Björk's description, somewhere between the timeless aura of traditional folk music and the youthful glow of indie folk-pop. This old/new space seems to create a mystical, hypnotic vacuum: On "Klara," for instance, Arnalds plays a toy guitar, and when what sounds like an organ comes in halfway through, barely audible, it's as if it's there in acquiescent adulation, like it was nearby and couldn't help itself, the way some songs make listeners involuntarily tap their feet or hum along.

Arnalds' songs invite you to listen closely, sway, hum along and get sucked into her world.

More by Annie Holub


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Don't Forget the Coop

    Interview with Alice Cooper
    • Jun 15, 2017
  • Battle Acts: Sgt. Pepper Then vs. Sgt. Pepper Now

    We have no Summer of Love to ponder, no Vietnam War to protest, no miracle drug that's going to save us. But we do have an unpopular president and Sgt. Pepper to marvel over all over again. It's not the same, but it kinda is, and that's about the best splendid time that can be guaranteed for all in 2017.
    • Jun 8, 2017
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation