There must be something magical in Iceland that makes musicians from there want to perform some of the most idyllic tunes you’ve ever heard. And no, I’m not talking about those soothing melodies that Bed, Bath & Beyond sells. I’m talking about music more along the lines of the enchanting works of Bjork or the ethereal sounds of Sigur Ros.
Well, you can now gently place Seabear into that same category.
Sindri Már Sigfússon originally started Seabear as a solo project, but he soon added six new members (Gudbjörg Hlin Gudmundsdottir, Ingibjörg Birgisdóttir, Halldór Ragnarsson, Örn Ingi Ágústsson, Kjartan Bragi Bjarnason, and Sóley Stefánsdóttir) to join him in his musical crusade, all within the confines of a homemade basement studio.
We Built A Fire is the Icelandic band’s sophomore album, and it carries much of the same sensations and sentiments as the band’s 2007 debut The Ghost That Carried Us Away with the slight exception of a more livelier tone (think The Low Anthem up a notch or Rogue Wave down a notch).
The album opens with the beautifully calming “Lion Face Boy” that maintains surprising musical depth despite its minimalistic approach. “Fire Dies Down” perfectly follows with its pleasant mix of slow and fast tempo melodies.
The most startling aspect of We Built A Fire is the harmony. It’s stunningly pleasant, especially on the pseudo-title track “I’ll Build You A Fire” where certain segments are enriched by an ideal blend of vocals and strings. On ballads like “Cold Summer” the band seems to strike the right chord every time, which unleashes an uncontrollable inner montage of past memories, former glories, and fantastic dreams. It also works on “Softship” which is the most bubblegum pop you’re ever likely to hear from Seabear (and that’s still a stretch).
I found myself humming many of the album’s tracks throughout the past few days. Mostly, while I was walking some place or waiting for something. While this might be construed as simply filling time, I think it’s more of Seabear trying to accompany my thoughts since I do much thinking during these non-brain-intensive activities. Or if you want to look at it another way, I hummed Seabear, and they got the brain juice flowing.