Emiliana Torrini is an interesting creature. An Icelander with Italian heritage, her first album Love in the Time of Science, was Bjork-like in its electronic trip-hop beats and bleeps. This, her second from 2005, is almost the polar opposite and is purely acoustic. Acoustic, gentle and minimalistic, not unlike Nick Drake’s delicate masterpiece, Pink Moon. The songs gently reveal themselves and burrow their way into your self-consciousness. This is not an album for background music, or for listening to whilst driving or operating machinery, it needs to be heard in the solitude of your attic bedroom.
Nothing Brings Me Down opens the album, and it’s one of my favourites, remarkable for its purity, its simplicity and its honesty. SunnyRoad is a lovely light-hearted affair, that you could imagine a hit in the hands of Norah Jones and the jazz-lite production that tends to be a default setting for what might be considered Adult Orientated Pop, but in Torrini’s hands it’s just very beautifully simple.
Many of the songs are co-written with Dan Carey who also produces the album, and deserves every accolade going for having co-created such a gem. I love the slow creaking of what sounds like boat rigging in Lifesaver, and across the whole album every track is gently nurtured into the light, with a ‘less is more’ approach. Heartstopper and Thinking Out Loud are other highlights. My absolute favourite, due to its ability to perfectly capture that feeling of just ‘surviving’ and having made it through another day is Today Has Been Ok.
Torrini has a light breathy childlike voice on this album. Hard to associate it with the same person who got a Grammy nomination for co-writing the Kylie Minogue song Slow. Here the music is subtle and soft, mainly acoustic guitar, with some light jazz piano here and there. Her vocals here are a much softer, quieter, and more subtle version of Torrini’s performance of Gollem’s Song in Lord of the Rings. It’s also a far cry from her funky bubbly summery scatting hit Jungle Drum from her follow-up to this, but she’s clearly a woman of many styles and talents.
This is an album to play at the end of the day, as dusk is falling and curtains are being drawn against the outside world. It’s a record to play in celebration of life and for having the strength to live it.
Best Bits: Today Has Been Ok
Genre: Indie Folk
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