ÁRSTÍÐIR redefine their sound and take an evolutionary quantum leap that will catapult the eclectic Icelandic band from a highly praised phenomenon at the fringe straight to the centre of international attention. ÁRSTÍÐIR was never an ugly duckling, but now their musical swan has emerged in its full glorious beauty on 'Nivalis'.
The Icelanders have never easily fit into any stylistic drawer and hence attracted a particularly long list of attempts of a musical definition that ranges from indie rock via progressive rock, indie folk, chamber folk and pop, neo-classical to minimalism.
There is some truth in all these categories assigned to ÁRSTÍÐIR, but no single description entirely catches their overall sound entirely. Always something else is appearing that is adding and contradicting the first impression. Although everything said above about the band still remains true, new elements appear on 'Nivalis' that add up to a big change. One of these items can easily be identified as drums playing a much stronger role than it did on previous releases, which is a welcome side-effect of ÁRSTÍÐIR recently supporting label-mates SÓLSTAFIR on their extended European tour. Other changes are harder to specify, yet the Icelanders seem to have turned all those switches into the right direction – and not only due to a brilliant, crystalline, warm, and transparent production that perfectly brings together the dominant acoustic instruments with their electronic counterparts to evoke a fragile melancholy and embracing emotionality.
ÁRSTÍÐIR emerged from the burgeoning Icelandic music scene in 2008, when the band's three founding members discovered their mutual love for vocal harmonies despite coming from different genres. Daniel, Gunnar and Ragnar quickly went from playing acoustic cover versions to leaving their own sonic footprint by amalgamating influences taken from different styles into something quite unique, which might tentatively be dubbed "Icelandic independent".
With early lyrical references pointing towards the spectacular nature and scenery of this volcanic island and the strongly contrasting moods of its seasons, the band took the name ÁRSTÍÐIR, which means "seasons" in Icelandic.
At home, the band experienced a fast rise. Only four months after its inception, ÁRSTÍÐIR had risen from performing in a coffee shop in Reykjavik to scoring a number one hit on national radio with the track "Sunday Morning".
1 August 2020
2 August 2020