Teitur - Story Music (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
CRITICALLY-acclaimed Faroese singer-songerwriter Teitur has delivered a thoughtful, quietly provocative sixth album in the form of Story Music, which attempts to combine easy-going enjoyment with something a little more probing.
“So much of new pop music doesn’t have any social awareness. It’s like a sweet sugary snack that gives you a quick rush that is soon gone,” he explains. “I feel that the music we like defines who we are.”
Hence, Story Music exists to offer up such moments, while delivering others that deliberately eschew conventional form and structure. As such, it could be polarising and runs the risk of being a little pretentious.
If Teitur is suggesting that pop songs are bad for you, while delivering a couple of like-minded sugar rushes on the LP that serve as highlights, then did he mean to be insulting too? No matter, it gives you pause for thought.
Of those sugary moments, Indie Girl is a gem… a song that breezes along, is ripe with melody and some humourous lyrics. It does give the album a welcome shot in the arm.
Similarly, Rock and Roll Band is a song that obtusely juxtaposes pedal steel, banjo and euphonium with a wry observational lyric about the absurdities of rock and roll lifestyles. And it’s fun.
Teitur does, admittedly, answer my conundrum, by stating of such songs: “I wanted the album to come from a good place and to continue the analogy, provide something organic and nourishing, many of the tracks are stories, told through lyrics or music. Music as wholefood!”
Where the album deviates from that formula slightly is on songs such as If You Wait and Monday, which has, among other random features, a spoken word and a choir chanting the title against a freeform modernist and jazz influenced composition. Such moments potentially alienate listeners. They have interest. But they are likely to test the patience of mainstream fans.
And then there’s something like It’s Not Funny Anymore, a song written with long-time collaborator Pam Sheyne. The song features an epic orchestral arrangement by the legendary Van Dyke Parks whose 50-year career encompasses a host of classic compositions and arrangements, including many with Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys. It’s really rather wonderful, cinematic, classical and evocative of artists such as Rufus Wainwright.
Put together, Story Music is a mixed bag – by turns enchanting, enjoyable, frustrating and experimental. But because of that, it’s also utterly compelling.
Download picks: Indie Girl, Rock And Roll Band, It’s Not Funny Anymore