Anneke van Giersbergen is a name well known to me but Icelandic band Árstíðir are not and their album “Verloren Verleden” provides considerable evidence of a synergy that demonstrates the merits of practised musicianship.
A casual perusal of the songs on this album might well suggest pandering to the polite section of the masses as well-known songs outnumber original material but “Verloren Verleden”, fortunately, is more than just another collection of popular refrains.
The musicianship is understated throughout with the arrangements sometimes too subtle for their own good yet your ears cannot fail to be impressed by the fluency and fluidity of the playing with each musician fitting into a matrix of ear entrancing perfection. Anneke van Giersbergen undoubtedly has the voice to overpower this sonorous confection but she instead chooses to float just above the clouds in the musical sky with her flexibility allowing her to alternate easily between “Bist Du Bei Mir” and “Russian Lullaby” without ever sounding academic in her interpretations and her exquisitely tasteful rendition of “Londonderry Air (Danny Boy)” provides the album’s highlight.
So there you have it. “Verloren Verleden” is an album for the connoisseur released in a time when such things may not be fully appreciated. If that turns out to be true then it would be the world’s loss.
The album is available from Bandcamp. As you might expect from musicians of class, the physical CD is elegantly packaged too.