If you are looking for an album to listen to whilst watching the sunset in a forest (you too?) I think I have found you something that fits the bill. Small Feet’s hauntingly beautiful debut album captures listeners from the first note and will draw you into a trance before you can say “do you know what, this sounds a bit like the ocean”.
From Far Enough Away Everything Sounds Like the Ocean is the debut album from the Swedish band and although arguably folk music, the style also includes an electronic feel with its dream-like atmosphere and soothing guitar. Featuring mournful lyrics with a warm undertone lead singer Stålhamre has a peculiar voice which takes a while to adapt to. Slightly shrill and groaning the sound is unusual but as the album progresses it actually adds to the haunting atmosphere the tracks are building up and by the end of the album it becomes the highlight.
To say the album doesn’t have a specific theme is a massive understatement as, other than the familiar high drawling vocals that flow through the album, each track seems to be completely different to the one before. Simon Stålhamre is described as a guy who can’t seem to stick with one project for very long which is perhaps mirrored in the erratic eclectic mix of songs. You don’t really know where you are or what is going on as the band throws listeners from track to track as one song takes a hard look at the world and the next then addresses Stålhamre’s fear of dogs and babies. Perhaps not for everyone, however if you follow the album through, the variety is interesting and shows off the personality of the band in a creative manner, how better to tell someone you’re more of a cat person than with whistling and a catchy drum beat?
Beautiful guitar playing features in many of the songs, making you want to close your eyes and float away, however “Here’s to Violence’s” dark, disconcerting introduction changes the mood. Piercing lyrics slice through an ominous wall of sound until we reach a clashing electric guitar interlude which is brilliantly bad. The introspective, unusual song delivers a message in style, job well done.
Skillful guitar continues into the beginning of “Rivers” as the plucking of strings mimics a trickling river before the piercing vocals flow in, groaning but hauntingly beautiful. Said to be “Lamenting the early death of a friend”, “Rivers’” gentle and heartfelt lyrics, such as “I look for your ghost almost every night / I make up little signs that say you are alright,” inject feeling and meaning into a song that the band should be incredibly proud of.
Eerie, unusual and at some points truly beautiful, Small Feet have created a debut album that may not be to everyone’s taste, but definitely makes them stand out from the crowd. Perhaps not sounding as exactly like the ocean as the title suggests, the Swedish trio have, however, definitely delivered the same magnificence any sea ever could, and chances are as soon as it’s ended you’ll want to dive straight back in.