There is something very mystical and naturally Icelandic about Asgeir’s latest release Afterglow. Taking a more electronic path in comparison to his more folky debut album In The Silence, Afterglow implies and demonstrates plenty of growth from the Icelandic singer-songwriter, with the album feeling more polished and Asgeir himself coming off as older and wiser, if not slightly more experimental.
Just like the auspicious and other-worldly landscapes of Iceland itself – Afterglow transports the listener through a fantastical journey of smooth techno rhythms combined with a lilt of folk, each wrapped up in Asgeir’s delightfully wistful vocal.
Delving into the record is an introspective affair really, and the idea of getting lost in the LP is not a far off possibility. Opening with Afterglow, we are greeted with lightly cascading piano keys accompanied with Asgeir’s high pitched croon, a friendly greeting to introduce the album.
Pre-release singles Unbound and Stardust loudly exclaim that the new Asgeir is here and don’t hesitate to show the listener his new sound, both tracks exploding with electro-folk openings and audible mystique which draws the listener in.
Here Comes The Wave In brings about some harrowing Bon Iver vibes, and is very reminiscent of his track Perth, the similarities evoked by loud drums and battle cry-esque vocals. Underneath It boils over from deeply brooding tech-folk to a glitched out finish that disallows any kind of peace.
I know You Know is a teasingly beautiful track which acts as an oasis between the more rhythmical numbers in between and drives you to get up and go. Dreaming, with its hints of brass and low key layering of electronic instrumentation and drum beats, carries the chill vibes of the album forward.
The record fades out in an intricate layering of Asgeir’s vocals peppered with a light showering of piano notes. It leaves the listener in a contemplative mood and if mixed with wintery weather it can really shake those insecurities away.
Asgeir is on a promising path, and from his small town in Iceland to his second upcoming world tour, he has shown that beyond Bjork and Sigur Ros, musically Iceland has a lot to offer. It will be interesting to see where his musical metamorphosis will lead him next.