Photo: Stian Vedøy / Courtesy of the artist

Norwegian/Welsh Duo Firewoodisland Deliver Exquisite Chamber Pop Positivity on “Hollow Coves” (premiere)

Folk poppers Firewoodisland deliver peak chamber pop with the gorgeously arranged and performed ode, "Hollow Coves".

Norwegian/Welsh duo Firewoodisland properly began about ten years ago, when songwriter/producer Stian Vedøy expanded his solo project (titled after the English translation of his surname) to include songwriter/illustrator Abi Eleri. Since then, the self-described “mountain pop” pair have released two EPs (2014’s ILD and 2016’s Dome) and a 2018 debut album, Chaos Is the State of Heart. Their music stands alongside the chamber/indie/folk pop-rock excellence of artists like Bon Iver, Of Monsters and Men, and Passenger. That has yielded plenty of praise from critics and radio personalities, as well as an abundance of festival appearances. Thankfully, their latest single, “Hollow Coves”, is saturated by everything that typically makes their work so significant. It easily ranks among the best pieces they’ve ever released.

Firewoodisland say that the song “is about reaching the point of having nothing left to give and meeting someone with a fresh perspective who breathes new life into those empty places. It acts as a reminder that we’re not made to do life by ourselves”. That sobering yet ultimately uplifting message permeates every moment and timbre of the tune. Specifically, its vigorous instrumentation instantly envelops you in lusciously arranged pastoral splendor. Likewise, the duo’s falsetto vocals—whether isolated or unified—work wonders in bringing beautifully touching lyrics and melodies to the forefront, including an especially captivating chorus. As with many of their stylistic peers, their fluid transitions between dense scores and sparse respites showcase masterful dynamics throughout.

Take a listen to “Hollow Coves” and get lost in its gorgeous poetry. You can also catch Firewoodisland on the Sofar Sounds UK tour through October. They are keeping the line-ups and locations a secret for now, so be sure to check out your local Sofar Sounds for more details.