Friday, 21 August 2020

LISTEN: Siv Jakobsen - 'A Temporary Soothing'

"It's a cliche, and everyone says it, but it really does feel like a form of therapy to write [...] to perform a song is like having a pocket frozen in time, and every song takes me back to a certain moment or part in my life. They're like little time capsules. There are songs that I wrote years ago and I can remember the situation that prompted the song, what the room I wrote it in looked like, what the weather was like. It's like keeping a really detailed diary."

A teeny album recommendation for your Friday - today brings new records from Dan Croll and Brooke Bentham (I had written two other artists here but entirely misjudged their release days...) but you'll struggle to find anything quite as, for want of a better word, soothing, than this. This record is exactly the tonic we need for this year, and it'll bring you comfort for years to come. A perfectly named release, and one delayed by covid... I've had a stream of this in my inbox since January and I'm delighted that it is finally out in the world. Siv Jakobsen's A Temporary Soothing is, in essence, sublime. 

The album arrives in the wake of her debut EP The Lingering (2015) and debut LP The Nordic Mellow (2017) and the extensive touring that she did to support the release of both. After this busy period, she took some time to rest at home in her native Norway, allowing the events and experiences of the previous years to settle. Writing for a new record began...

Now, A Temporary Soothing is here. Released via Norwegian label U OK? the record was produced by Chris Bond (who notably produced the first two Ben Howard records.) Heavy work commitments meant the pair met to record for intense periods of one week or two across the space of almost a year. This process allowed Siv creative freedom to try new things, exploring ideas between recording sessions. 

On writing, Siv comments that "there is often a preconceived notion made about artists who write 'sad songs', that they must be sad people. I have made the same presumption about others in the arts and this idea of the 'suffering artists' stuck more and more to my consciousness after several encounters where I felt I was met with amusement that I 'seemed like a happy person.'" Responding to these thoughts, she explains that the record "was conceived from this building fear that I wouldn't be able to be both happy and a good writer at the same time. Ultimately, it developed into a broader look upon my relationship with fear and nerves."

With honesty, integrity and her personality at the heart of her writing, this record, collectively, serves as a window onto this chapter of Siv's life. Musically, the songs are like a warming hug against the snowy Norwegian backdrop. Silky smooth vocals, sumptuous (I said it!!) strings, there's a lot to like here. Anywhere Else is one of the best tracks you'll hear this year, but it's hard to separate them. It's a really divine piece of work. I best pencil it into the records of the year post plans now.

Listen to/order A Temporary Soothing here.

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