CD REVIEWS: Seabear: We Built a Fire

Björk and Sigur Rós may have put Iceland on the musical map. But Seabear – the seven-person collective that just released their sophomore album and made their North American debut at South by Southwest – have proved themselves to be the most promising new Icelandic indie export. Started as the solo project of Sindri Már Sigfússon, labeled the “Icelandic Beck” by Rolling Stone, Seabear’s lo-fi yet lively folk-infused indie pop has reached new heights on their second album, We Built a Fire. As the album and song titles suggest, We Built a Fire features nature themes and an outdoorsy, campfire-songs vibe reminiscent of Fleet Foxes and The Low Anthem.

Intro track “Lion Face Boy” sets the tone for the album with a beautifully crafted melody featuring a multitude of voices and instruments such as trumpet and accordion. On “Cold Summer,” a nostalgic, strings-backed ballad which mourns the loss of youthful summers, Sigfússon’s alluring voice calls to mind the meditative, melancholic tunes of Sufjan Stevens’ Seven Swans. But “Fire Dies Down” is unquestionably the highlight of the album, with lush harmonies and idyllic lyrics: “The fire died down/ carried it there into the house/uncover your eyes/ let it all glow.” The song epitomizes what Seabear does best: earthy yet ethereal lo-fi melodies that begin slowly and delicately, eventually erupting into a crescendo of myriad voices and instruments.

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