A Nighthawk - Ice in the Belly, Fire in the Mind - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

A Nighthawk - Ice in the Belly, Fire in the Mind

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:7 Release Date:2016-02-29

Reveries. They slip upon us when we let down our guard. Or when a clever group like Swedish group A Nighthawk propels us gently into one, like crashing into a cloud in slow motion. That's exactly what they manage to achieve for most of their new album, Ice in the Belly, Fire in the Mind. This dreampop gem oozes the gauzy haze of emotions that gives the genre its name.

'Beauty', the opener, has the sort of simplicity and charm that Bouquet epitomized with their 2015 EP, In a Dream. You'll find yourself weightless and drifting almost instantly. The song does build up into something of a triumphant almost-march, with soaring vocals that bring to mind Sigur Ros.. Remarkably, they manage to duplicate this feat on the song 'Free', which also features some steely guitar melodies.

But the great thing is that this group isn't quite a one-trick pony. 'Coming for You' is a weird blend that somehow screams their Northern European pedigree and the influence of groups like Sigur Ros and The Knife while still sounding totally unique. It has echoing chimes, whiny synths, and powerful vocals in just the proper proportions. It's hard to emphasize just how well done and gripping the song is. Another standout is the almost tropical groove of 'Follow Me', with its fuzzy bass, spanish-sounding guitar, and jangly island percussion.

They do like to slow things down on occasion too, as in the floaty, mellow ballad 'Follow'. Piano chords and melodies share airtime with mellifluous vocals, plinky little guitars, and airy synths to oh-so-gently help the listener float away in the breeze. 'Top of my Shoes' is another song that channels Sigur Ros but adds some depth to the vocals with bass backing.

This is a dreamy little album designed to put your mind in neutral and let you zone out, and it succeeds for the most part. While not necessarily innovative, it's well done and will absolutely satisfy anyone thirsty for a reverie.

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