Pascal Pinon - Sundur - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Pascal Pinon - Sundur

by Jeff Penczak Rating:8 Release Date:2016-08-26

Pascal Pinon is the Icelandic folktronic pop duo consisting of twin sisters Ásthildur and Jófríður Ákadóttir. They released their debut album six years ago when they were just 14 and have been on the three year plan ever since: three years later Morr issued their sophomore effort, and now three years later we have Sundur, which guitarist, singer and main songwriter Jófríður says continues their fascination with the raw, minimalist, and lo-fi end of the alt-folk spectrum. That’s certainly apparent on the nakedly forlorn piano ballad ‘Jósa and Lotta’. ‘53’ certainly won’t wake the baby either, as Jófríður whispers tenderly in your ears (good headphone album, this one).

One of the album’s many charms is the intimacy of the recordings, as if the Ákadóttir sisters are performing especially to you in the comfort of your living room. Their melancholic, but still melodious tunes are emotional powerhouses, tugging at heartstrings, while allowing the listener to contemplate the (mostly English) lyrics and equate these young ladies’ experiences with your own.

‘Forest’ has a distinct aura of experimental pop that fellow Icelander Bjork brings to her more reflective moments, while ‘Fuglar’ uses a harmonium-like keyboard to imbue the track with an eerie, Nicoesque mystique. Conversely, the instrumentals ‘Spider Light’ and ‘Twax’ turn the table to deliver bubbly little synth-driven pop tunes with childlike innocence oozing from every keystroke. It’s like Depeche Mode played by (or for) the kindergarten set! This cinematic touch is a nice change that deserves further exploration. I can almost hear them in the next season of Les Revenants, mixed amongst those atmospheric Mogwai concoctions. (‘Twax’ is particularly unsettling, as every few seconds my speakers started buzzing like there were ghosts in the machine or lightning was striking my music player. I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt that this was intentional and not some glitch in the sound files we received! Shame they had to ruin such a spooky tune with silly gimmicks, though.)

I’m also glad they didn’t succumb to economic pressures to expand their marketability by singing everything in English; the lilting, though admittedly unromantic Icelandic tongue is mysteriously alluring when rolled out for ‘Skammdegi’ and ‘Ást’, adding an evocative aura to the sisters’ repertoire, which will sit comfortably beside your Bjork and Nico albums, along with similar sister acts like First Aid Kit and Lily & Madeleine.

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