Nordic Hooks That Run Hot and Cold
Where She’s From: Reykjavik, Iceland
When She Started: 2010
Most Similar: Dillon, Seabear
Sounds Like: A ghost story from 6th grade summer camp
Stemming from Iceland’s folk rock band Seabear and blossoming into her own sound, Sóley Stefánsdóttir, or simply Sóley, is Iceland’s new dark pop princess.
With the whimsicality of Joanna Newsom and the eerieness of a horror film, Sóley’s narrative lyrics and haunting piano are like diving into Alice in Wonderland, in that Sóley’s sound is fantastic and colorful, yet you’re left with an uneasy, inexplicable creepy feeling. And to go with the Lewis Carroll theme, she even sings about a rabbit who steals her heart in a song off We Sink, entitled “Bad Dream.”
The singer’s second album, We Sink takes some seriously dark nightmares and pair them with enough echoy, fairy-like vocals to keep you hooked rather than terrified. Check out “Kill the Clown,” which, as the title suggests, tells the story of a vicious clown that the narrator eventually murders. Sóley sings in an innocent, hushed tone as the cold, desolate piano shudders right along with you.
The essence of Sóley’s sweetness-turned-sadness is captured in a lyric from “Read Your Book” off her first EP, Theatre Island: “It was fun, but I still cry.” Despite her sugary, childlike tonality, somehow Sóley’s tracks leave you with a melancholy you can’t shake.
Catch Sóley opening for Of Monsters and Men in the US this November. In the meantime, watch her video for “Pretty Face” to hold you over.