Kælan Mikla’s “Undir Köldum Norðurljósum”: album review

I’ve loved Icelandic ethereal synth darkwave act since I first saw them on the lineup for Robert Smith’s curated Pasadena Daydream Festival a couple of years ago, and checked out their sound. Their first few albums feature a heavy focus on emotionally wrought powerful vocals that border on screaming, laid over a brooding early Cure vibe. Laufey Soffía has demonstrated plenty of times that she can sing more melodically (one track on the “Mánadans” collection of early works; a few places on “Nótt Efter Nótt”) underscoring the fact that her more intense voicing are by choice and not necessity or limitation, yet “Undir Köldum Norðurljósum” seems to be where she shows herself most comfortable with her melodic singing voice, those shriller lamentations relegated to backing vocals deeper in the mix. The result is a beautiful and entrancing record, showcasing this impressive trio’s ongoing evolution and maturing.

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