Father Figure Records/Paper Garden Records
The talent present on Snĉvar Njáll Albertsson's debut full-length is undeniable. In the same creative neighborhood as the criminally underappreciated Alcoholic Faith Mission, Albertsson, an Icelander now living in Denmark, crafts lush pop soundscapes awash with his cleverly worded, sharp observations of contemporary life. The album is a distinct pleasure, perhaps the best of its kind to come out this year, but as with every album that is deemed "clever," Albertsson's "Mount Modern" has the tendency to occasionally be too clever for its own good: the instrumentation occasionally feeling a little too cute, the rich arrangements leaving the shadowy side of the street in order to frolic in the sun, and the lyrics can, with repeated listening, lose some of their initial charm. That said, I'll take an album that is sporadically too smart, too layered, too happy, and too charming over the limp, anemic indie pop offerings that get hyped every other week. And when Dad Rocks! gets it right, he really gets it right -- like you want to make a mixtape for a friend with tracks off "Mount Modern" right. "Take care", one of the many highlights, balances itself perfectly between detached cynicism and intimate despair, both in its musical and lyrical approach: "And they watch the military fireworks and talk about traveling light, and there's a global spread of wasted lives which we'll later take care of with knives." "Mount Modern" is a soundtrack for those who find beauty in the winds tearing the last of the autumn leaves from the trees, who appreciate the descent into winter because they are hopeful for the spring.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson