Last summer, Iceland’s Sóley Stefansdottir (Sóley) demonstrated that an EP built with 90% piano could be spine-tingling, emotive, gripping and thought-provoking, whilst haunting adult souls with childhood nightmares. Krómantik was minimalist yet calculated. It cleverly used only Icelandic titles, which to most of the world, made it feel eerie and foreign. With few murmurs of human vocals and lasting just over 15 minutes, the record was short but gave enough time to provoke visions of lost silent films, golden era slapstick duos drowned in the storm of time, and the terrifying curses surrounding seventies horror cinema.
The sorcerer and her musical cauldron returns with a black ticket inviting us back into her dream world with a new track on her soundcloud that teases the release of her second full length Ask The Deep. Described by her record label Moor Music as leading listeners “deeper and deeper into the fairytale worlds only hinted on previous worlds“, and for having themes surrounding “ghost ships“, it definitely sounds like a continuation of her delicate yet dark surrealism.
“Follow Me Down” begins with choppy and disorientated vibrating punches, an example of typical Icelandic instrumental ambiguity that appeared dominantly in her antecedent work. Howeverr what’s interesting is her voice has reappeared with a new level of confidence that isn’t alienating and is still appropriate. The soaring of her vocals and pleasant humming are given greater oomph by the production and bring to mind Susanne Sundfor, Lykke Li and Agnes Obel rather than a more comprehensible version of Joanna Newsom, heard on debut We Sink.
The bold marching drums feel optimistic and directional but ready for an adventure that could be full of unexpected turbulence. The second album isn’t released until May 8 but the cover has already been released. Due to the high standards of shocking creepiness from Krómantik’s artwork, this falls short but the melted portrait’s ascend could be a symbolism for the “inner demon” described in the Morr Music’s press release. To enter the world of Sóley, visit her Facebook page here.