I came to the music of Icelandic folk chanteuse Ólöf Arnalds on a soft-drizzle morning as if drawn in by a strange mysterious impulse, consumed by a desire to be lulled into dalliance with something unfamiliar and piercingly beautiful. And the brittle “Crazy Car”, one of the three songs Ólöf sings in English on her sparsely elegant second album Innundir Skinni, seems to fit the bill perfectly. The soft and haunting textures of this duet with compatriot Ragnar Kjartansson gently coax crumbs of meaning interpreted or reinvented out of everyday experiences – Ólöf herself has remarked that it is a bit of friendly advice delivered to a friend living in New York. Listening to “Crazy Car”, the song initially conjures up for me floating imagery of a young frightened hitchhiking couple and their secret meeting by the cemetery gates (or maybe I’m just getting way too much into my Milan Kundera readings and The Smiths all over again). Then through repeated listens, “Crazy Car” and the rest of Innundir Skinni lead you down new roads to a different geography altogether, some place near the dark back of time where a deluge of old memories fade into futility and settle into the sound of peaceful forgetting. – keith.
The excellent Innundir Skinni is out now on One Little Indian.