The classic lounge pop sound on Seabear’s debut is as cool, calm, and innocent as their home of Iceland. Released by Morr Music, The Ghost That Carried Us Away is true to the label’s subtle rhythmic undertones, but lacks any of the label’s trademark electronica. It’s a well-crafted throwback to the simplicity of early-20th century music when being both restrained and organic were the norm.
Seven-plus young Icelandic musicians have created a deeply soothing collection of songs that might as well be played through an early radio. What makes The Ghost That Carried Us Away relevant now, though, is that it takes that sentiment and updates it with more complex intra-beats and instruments. On the opening track, “Good Morning Scarecrow”, drums patter quickly around an acoustic guitar, piano, xylophone, among others. But, obviously, this kind of precision mixed with smoothness just didn’t exist back in the day. It’s a major theme of the album, behind band leader Gudbjörg Hlin Gudmundsdóttir’s breathy vocals.
On The Ghost That Carried Us Away, he’s joined by a host of friends, people from other bands, and hometown folks. Together, they make a charmingly innocent sound through acoustic guitars, slide guitar, flugelhorn, a banjo and more older Americana instruments. “Owl Walz” is a soft, waltz beat with airy vocal harmonies. “Hospital Bed” is similar, but driven by a long violin solo. “Lost Watch” is a near-perfect lullaby. Between the quicker-paced tracks, there are moments of purely sublime relaxation.
For their debut, the members of Seabear already sound well-accomplished not only on their instruments, but in their ability to play so many of them within the confines of such quiet music. There isn’t any misplaced energy or any misplaced notes, making for a wonderfully comfortable album.