Moreton Bay Stage, WOMADelaide, Sat Mar 7
It’s the middle of the afternoon and something has inexplicably drawn me to the Moreton Bay Stage. I’ve never heard of Sóley – not until I had a look at the WOMADelaide program in any case – but she sounds interesting. I sit on the lawn, close to the stage, and wait for the show to begin.
Sóley Stefánsdóttir, along with band members Jón Óskar Jónsson (drums) Albert Finnbogason (keyboards and guitar) appear and, after a little setting up, kick off their performance with And Leave. I am at once swept away into an ocean of airy vocals, looped through the sparse yet beautiful arrangements. The three instruments play around each other while Sóley sings songs that lyrically combine childlike innocence with fairytale nightmares.
Kill The Clown is slow and haunting, while Smashed Birds has a vaguely poppy vibe. Pretty Face features some inventive percussion while One Eyed Lady has a heartbeat-like rhythm that underlines the murderous story of the song. Halloween, a track from Sóley’s forthcoming album, gives a strong indication that it will be worth a listen. The band plays 10 songs in what is a very interesting and enjoyable set.
Sóley demonstrates a good sense of humour between songs. She is apologetic about bringing her “depressing, cold music” to our country but she needn’t be. There is warmth, beauty, and a sense of fun in the performance which, strangely, goes hand in glove with the darker moments.
The repeating looped refrain of “drown when I see…” from the final song I’ll Drown finds a home in my consciousness. I’m humming it for hours.
I want to hear everything Sóley has ever recorded. I’ll be seeing the show again tomorrow.