Although there is a certain reassuring quality to evergreens – you can rely on them to never drop their foliage – it’s the flowering plants, the ones that bud, blossom, and bloom, which really light up and even define a season. This is exactly what happens on Flowers, Sin Fang’s third solo album: Seabear’s founder and mastermind unlashes a melodic spring storm and explores even more corners of the lush and baroque gardens he spent the last five years in.
Following his Half Dreams EP, Flowers is a solo album that nevertheless opens with a lot of collective chanting, a sense of deep rootedness, togetherness, unity, shared experience: “We were young boys, smoking in the woods, I showed you how”, are the first words Sindri Már Sigfússon aka Sin Fang scatters across the less-beaten tracks, only to leapfrog across the lawn and switch on the stage lights for his own take of stadium pop. Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with your ears: A song like “What’s Wrong With Your Eyes” would indeed sound infinitely awesome in a stadium setting – it’s so massive, so outspokenly pop, when the beat meets layered vocals and the piano comes in just at the right moments. “I was thinking a lot about pre-teenage and teenage feelings,” he explains. “The exaggerated feelings and dramatic thoughts that most teenagers go through: Love and rejection, the constant ups and downs... I thought Flowers was a good name for that theme as they are used both for sad and happy occasions.”
A few albums and EPs and make-shift DIY beards later (he went from paper to knitted goods and now likes them freshly watered and soon withering), Mr. Sigfússon has obviously learned how to cultivate the heaviest crops of the pops: indie-rooted but vast, quirky at times but crystal-clearly aiming at the stars in other places, there’s more tracks with huge sing-along gestures, more of that well-rounded surround experience now stripped of any insecurities. This is a bold statement that’s a million miles away from cliché Icelandic indie stuff, but instead shows that you can indeed be a sucker for outlandish prison tattoos and at the same time go for rather timeless orchestrations that unfold like springs, followed by summers and autumnal winds.
There’s clearly a ghost at work here, still carrying him away, as he gathers more and more rosebuds and moves from epically marching (“Look At The Light”) to overgrown power pop (“Not Enough”) and back via lots of oh-uh-oh-uh-oohs (going up and down like those distant hills you can’t stop staring at) to fast-paced bliss (“Sunbeam”). “Weird Heart” takes a look at the things one doesn’t care about as one gets older (“so many things don’t mean a thing to me”), while “Feel See” is a call for like-minded individuals out there, as it moves from section to section, pushing onwards, now hesitant and soft-spoken almost, soon hopeful about the answer to the question it poses: “Is there someone that feels like me, that there’s nothing to feel or see?” There’s lots. To feel. To see. To discover and dive into. At least in this garden there is.
There's definitely something special in music from Iceland... it's always highly creative, usually unusual, and sometimes even plain weird - but in a positive sense. This applies to singer-songwriter Sóley Stefánsdóttir, too. Her songs are quite accessible in a way, but always with a surprising twist that's typical for music from this country in the far North. Sven B. Schreiber