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Ólöf Arnalds - Ólöf Sings [EP]

Ólöf Arnalds - Ólöf Sings [EP]

One Little Indian

Review 2002 Views
Last Edited by: Jack Stovin November 11th, 2011.

Icelandic singer-songwriter Ólöf Arnalds releases her new acoustic EP Ólöf Sings - a collection of cover songs by artists such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Johnny Cash. With her previous albums featuring songs in Icelandic, this one is all-English. The folk ballads are simply accompanied by her beautiful, lilting voice and guitar. Because of this, it thankfully stays well clear from sounding too much like Karaoke or camp fire session.

The album kicks off with Arthur Russell’s “Close My Eyes” and opens the album nicely with it’s warmth and calmness, whilst Bruce Springteen’s “With Tomorrow/ I’m On Fire” really shows off Arnalds’ voice and finger-picking guitar skills. The guitar alone makes this a highlight on the mini-album, whilst Arnalds’ voice accompanies it very nicely, with her slight accent and unusual voice giving this cover her own stamp mark.

You can hear Arnalds’ passion in Johnny Cash’s “Solitary Man”, where she demonstrates her love for this artist through her vocal techniques. It also adds more pace to the album with strummed chords. This track is then followed by Bob Dylan’s “She Belongs To Me”.


The album finishes with a cover of “Maria Bethania”, by the Brazilian composer Caetano Veloso. Arnalds describes this track as “beautifully precise and wild at the same time”, and she certainly retains this original element within her cover version. Again, she shows off the range of her vocals and original style.

This album has a stripped back, folksy quality to it and that’s thanks to Arnalds doing little to tamper with the originals. Her accent makes the covers unusual, cute and charming, compared to others we have heard before. Unfortunately, they lack creativity - at the end of the day, this is a woman sitting with her guitar, singing covers of classic folk ballads. I’m sure that some of us are looking forward to a collection of her own songs, but for now, her voice makes this EP of cover songs an enjoyable listen.

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