Ólöf Arnalds at Ace Hotel, Shoreditch
When presented with a quirky, avant-garde female indie musician, it is almost impossible not to draw comparisons with the usual batch of artists that includes Bjork and Kate Bush. Ólöf Arnalds could easily be placed in the same category, especially as she has toured with Bjork – yet her talent is distinctively unique.
On arrival, the first noticeable issue has to be the venue choice; after walking through numerous back room corridors and staircases, we emerge in a packed-out, elegant room with a bar, but no stage. Stood at the front before a glare of eyes, Arnalds tunes her guitar, steadying herself for the set. Slightly sheepish and shy, but in good humour, she jokingly apologises for not tuning it backstage.
When the music does start, the sound quality is pristine as it reverberates around the intimate room, washing over the audience without ever becoming too shrill or intense. Arnalds’ voice quality is retained in the live setting and sounds just as soothingly sweet and melancholic as on record. She timidly introduces her songs and offers an explanation of the more personal ones; a sing-along is even hinted at as she attempts to break the ice and stir up a bit of a reaction from the frozen crowd.
While Arnalds’ voice easily triumphs in the live arena and holds onto its stripped-back beauty, there is a slight hesitancy that stems from her lack of confidence singing in English. As you would expect, she seems far more at ease singing in her native tongue. Despite the quiet atmosphere, there is a collective sense of admiration and awe as Arnalds holds the crowd’s attention throughout her minimalist and melancholic set.
Photos: Marine Candel
For further information and future events visit Ólöf Arnalds’s website here.
Watch the video for Innundir Skinni here: