Iceland is a verdant land of lichen and laptops where Müm and other ümlaut-poppers make music from blips and gnomic fables. See Müm’s Finally We Are No One. Emiliana Torrini is different. She has Icelandic blood too. But her songs on this are as plainspoken as the record’s title. “Nothing Brings Me Down” and “Sunny Road” prove their clarity with spare acoustic arrangements to guide the sighing melody in Torrini’s hushed vocal, and the placid immediacy of lines like, “All windows are open/The flies are in/The phones are off/The music’s on/Nothing brings me down.” As Fisherman’s Woman continues, she’s joined by piano, melodica and touches of pedal steel and plinking glockenspiel (the latter on “Today Has Been OK” — how can you not love that title?), but the thoughtful Torrini is always summer-dress graceful. On the title track, she wishes only to wait for a distant seafaring lover. “Lifesaver” channels Nick Drake over the creak of a moored rowboat (seriously). And “At Least it Was” is a resigned breakup song paired to bittersweet acoustic chording. Fisherman’s Woman is completely unassuming. It’s folk with no heavy hand. Best, it doesn’t require megabytes or lyrical mysticism to be pure magic.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.