Norwegian prog-rockers Jordsjø are something out of the ordinary as evidenced by the stunning quality of their previous releases (the flawless Nattfiolen in particular) and the band’s entirely unique sound and spirited compositions. Yours truly can think of no other act out there who sounds even remotely akin to Jordsjø or inhabit those same traits and characteristics that one associates with said outfit. With respect to their upcoming opus titled Pastoralia, words and phrases are heartfelt and original, intriguingly layered and infinitely captivating, and exquisitely crafted from top to bottom, constantly present themselves when in the company of this oftentimes pastoral-sounding effort where superb melodies are beautifully interwoven with each other.
Pastoralia is a musically cohesive yet playful and loose affair that incorporates a myriad of different influences, elements, and vibes. There is something almost rural and earthy about their folk-tinged passages and there are certainly also parts that are drenched in a thick, passionate sense of melancholy. But what about those slightly eerie and unnerving sections that occasionally creep into the mix? Those delightfully jazzy tones that sneak into the eclectic soundscape also? What exactly is this LP? Perhaps it is the most suitable soundtrack to unearthing the secrets of the past that you will come across this year – that’s what this is.
Personal favourites and highlights include the Baroque-ish ‘Fuglehviskeren‘ and the sprawling (not to mention dazzling) epics that are ‘Skumring i Karesuando‘, ‘Beitemark‘, and closing track ‘Jord III‘. Every tune contains plenty of light and shade and so things never turn stale or boring here; there is always something exciting going on. The lyrics and words are in their native tongue, which lends an air of authenticity and authority to the compositions, and the title of the record, Pastoralia, is meant to signify a fictional place where the forest people dance around campfires on warm nights in northern Norway.
While there are subtle parallels and nods to Jethro Tull, Van der Graaf Generator, and Camel throughout, Jordsjø possesses a musical identity that is entirely their own. Pastoralia does require time and patience on the part of the listener as there is an awful lot to absorb here and it only really starts to makes sense once you have spun the disc several times. It is darkly magical and strangely enchanting albeit with ever so slightly sinister textures shimmering underneath it all. This is the perfect album to immerse oneself in if you require solitude and/or escapism, and this eight-track offering is one of the finest and most adventurous and musically explorative Norwegian works within the field of progressive rock yet, which is saying something. I simply cannot detect any flaws here and this is Nordic prog rock with a folk-ish twist to it that leaves nothing to be desired.
Pastoralia will be released May 7, 2021 via Karisma Records.