12 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

On her first English-language project (and third album overall), Olof Arnalds combines maidenly vocal purity with a finely wrought melodic sense that makes her idiosyncrasies easy to enjoy. The Icelandic singer/songwriter crafts exquisite musical miniatures that hint of mystical reveries beyond their guileless lyricism. Sudden Elevation keeps a tight spotlight on Arnalds’ crystalline warble, mostly accompanied by acoustic guitar with occasional electric filigree and subtle string parts. Tunes like “Treat Her Kindly” and the title number invite comparisons to early Joni Mitchell; “Bright & Still” has the old-fashioned tunefulness of vintage Paul McCartney. With music that's undeniably twee at times, Arnalds transcends her childlike qualities with empathy and quiet wisdom. She moves between the medieval exaltation of “Return Again,” the church-pageant whimsy of “All a Little Grim,” and the tropical lilt of “Numbers and Names” with an enraptured air, punctuated by a wry smile now and then. “Call It What You Want” adds a touch of spacy folk psychedelia. Arnalds comes across as dreamy, yet not remote; she revels in her quirks without surrendering to them.

EDITORS’ NOTES

On her first English-language project (and third album overall), Olof Arnalds combines maidenly vocal purity with a finely wrought melodic sense that makes her idiosyncrasies easy to enjoy. The Icelandic singer/songwriter crafts exquisite musical miniatures that hint of mystical reveries beyond their guileless lyricism. Sudden Elevation keeps a tight spotlight on Arnalds’ crystalline warble, mostly accompanied by acoustic guitar with occasional electric filigree and subtle string parts. Tunes like “Treat Her Kindly” and the title number invite comparisons to early Joni Mitchell; “Bright & Still” has the old-fashioned tunefulness of vintage Paul McCartney. With music that's undeniably twee at times, Arnalds transcends her childlike qualities with empathy and quiet wisdom. She moves between the medieval exaltation of “Return Again,” the church-pageant whimsy of “All a Little Grim,” and the tropical lilt of “Numbers and Names” with an enraptured air, punctuated by a wry smile now and then. “Call It What You Want” adds a touch of spacy folk psychedelia. Arnalds comes across as dreamy, yet not remote; she revels in her quirks without surrendering to them.

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3:50
3:17
3:49
2:49
4:04
2:56
2:52
3:18
3:55
1:44
2:35
3:40

About Ólöf Arnalds

Multi-instrumentalist Ólöf Arnalds has established herself as a vital member of the Icelandic musical community, but it wasn't until 2007 that she stepped forward to pursue a solo career with her album Vid Og Vid. Born in 1980, Arnalds began playing music at a young age and is fluent on violin, viola, cello, guitar, and a number of other stringed instruments. Arnalds became interested in international folk music early in her career, through she's performed with a wide variety of artists; she's a touring member of the Icelandic electronic ensemble Múm, and has also played and recorded with Slowblow, Mugison, Nix Noltes, and Kitchen Motors. Arnalds first began to step out into the spotlight on her own as a key collaborator on Skúli Sverrisson's award-winning 2006 album Seria; she wrote lyrics and sang lead on three of the album's selections, as well as playing guitar, viola, koto, and charango. After the success of Seria and receiving a degree in composition and new media from the Icelandic Academy of the Arts, Arnalds recorded her solo debut, Vid Og Vid, which was released by the respected independent label 12 Tónar in 2007. The album earned enthusiastic reviews both in Iceland and abroad, and Arnalds toured in support of the release in Europe, Scandinavia, and Canada. Arnalds' sophomore outing, the One Little Indian-issued Innundir Skinni, arrived in 2010, and was followed in 2013 by Sudden Elevation and in 2014 by Palme. ~ Mark Deming

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