Samantha Gilweit, contributor
Saddle up the reindeer, because Briana Marela’s latest album has a vibe so Nordic, playing it aloud might just keep the polar ice caps from melting. The experience is purposeful, as All Around Us was recorded in Iceland with Sigur Rós producer Alex Somers, and the result is as rich as lingonberry strudel, but imperfect like a nightstand from Ikea.
Marela’s voice is twee-pop level saccharine, but it marries well with her many ethereal vocal loops, like an elfin Imogen Heap or a less beachy Beach House. The album is lush, sonically all enveloping and has some incredible gems on it like “Surrender,” “Take Care of Me” and “Everything is New.” But the repetitive, surface-deep lyrics become tedious on certain tracks. It feels like Marela is holding back, afraid to go spelunking into the deeper caverns of her own emotions. Don’t hold back.
In the words of the classic Scandinavian masterpiece “Frozen,” just LET IT FUCKING GO.
Rating: 8 out of 12 cans of PBR!