Album Reviews

Teitur – The Singer

(A&G) UK release date: 16 February 2009

Teitur - The Singer “People break into tears for reasons I don’t know”. At the risk of diving headfirst into a bowl of “soppy moment” soup, it needs to be said that when Teitur breaks into falsetto over the minimal instrumentation on The Singer’s title-track, the beauty of the moment is sufficient to make the world stop. “They just want to understand me / And I sing to be loved”. It’s a heartfelt and poignantly honest opener, and sets the tone for an album of goosebump-bringing beauty.

Teitur, pronounced “tie-tor”, is a singer-songwriter from the Faroe Islands, the desolate group of rocky outcrops equidistant from Scotland, Iceland and Denmark. Such geographical remoteness is tangibly reflected in the softness and sparse instrumentation of The Singer, Teitur’s fourth album and his first to get a UK release.

In the painting of his delicately serene musical landscapes Teitur employs a range of diverse instruments, from xylophones to brass, from acoustic guitar to weird and haunting organ sounds. But the use of said instruments is tactfully restrained. Everything has its place. With this ideology, Teitur creates carefully crafted, slow-burning, verse-chorus eschewing works of captivating tranquility.

As well as painting arrestingly beautiful musical vistas Teitur is a charming raconteur, and his lyrics readily stand alone as heartfelt poetry. “It’s still the same / Nothing’s changed / We still drink the same water” he pleads to a lost love; “I sing about loneliness and in return they thank me” he muses on the title-track, trying to cognate the awkwardness of opening your heart to an audience of strangers who’ve gathered to watch you sing.

Loneliness is a prevalent theme of The Singer and is openly discussed on The Girl I Don’t Know. The startlingly resonant observation “You must learn to love the rain” is here almost tear-jerkingly astute. But yet it’s so simple; we all get lonely, every one of us, but sometimes there’s beauty to be found in loneliness. It’s Teitur’s ability to make lucid the bittersweet tangled-up spaghetti of human emotion that sets him apart.

Such a close-to-the-bone journey into sometimes painful emotions should make for dark listening. And yet still there is a corporeal hope and optimism that permeates The Singer’s every song. Catherine The Waitress represents the album’s one poppy moment, and sounds like nothing other than a celebration of life and love. And while that sounds spectacularly twee, its three and half minutes stand resolutely unfettered by such song-poisoning cutesy prettiness.

The Singer is spellbinding; Teitur Lassen is hopelessly romantic, and possessive of a unique ability to perfectly translate emotion into musical and lyrical masterpieces. With such compelling honesty and calming musical soundscapes, Teitur meanders his way to your heart before settling down – nice and snug.

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More on Teitur
Teitur – Let The Dog Drive Home
Teitur @ Bush Hall, London
Teitur – All My Mistakes
Teitur – The Singer