[sic] Magazine

Calder – Lower

Make Mine Music
Reviewed by Michael Henaghan

Calder comprise Icelandic duo Lárus Sigurðsson and Ólafur Josephsson who create achingly beautiful and melodically rich guitar soundscapes. Propelled by delicate electronics and little whirs and clicks, acoustic guitars mingle with icy piano and wintry synths ensuring Calder’s sound nestles comfortably between ‘Happy Songs..’ era Mogwai and Josephsson’s main band Stafrænn Hákon.

“Tuft” is constructed out of fragile acoustic guitar strums and twilight xylophone splashes, meandering peacefully until it floods with heart-breaking impact just when you need it most. The clotted melody the duo fashion is akin to winding a toybox and marveling at its intricate sound. This track in particular will certainly appeal to fans of Keith Kenniff’s Helios discography.

There’s enough variety throughout “Lower” to keep interest levels from waning, though I do suspect 10 tracks of lush, sombre instrumentals may be too much for some. On “Vessel” the duo reaches for Sigur Ros like glacial climes and succeeds, harking back to the days when Jonsi and co. made music this beautiful. Both “Drones” and “Tone” give a sly nod to label-mates Epic45, crackling with field recordings or at least recording hiss that add an extra dimension to the atmosphere of each piece, while Calder adds industrialized electronics, for a more aggressive finale in “Rowd”.

Despite the fact the Icelandic music scene has been in full bloom for sometime now, “Lower” shows this small nation continue to burst forth with ideas. This is by no means ground-breaking stuff, but for 45 minutes or so, life just seems to be that little bit more peaceful.