1st UK tour and single
A new voice from the glaciers of Greenland
on LO-MAX Records
Release date November 9, 2009
November 2, 2009
A review by Mary Couzens for EXTRA! EXTRA!
For a young Inuit Scandinavian musician/singer/song-writer who hails from icy Greenland, Simon Lyngue is decidedly uncool. However, having seen him perform live, I get the distinct impression that that is just the way he wants it. Despite our age difference, coming as I do from the Devo-esque ‘Through Being Cool’ era of the late ‘70’s, (and glad to be so (uncool) myself), I can definitely appreciate where Linge is coming from. And, in an era of manufactured images and attitudes, particularly in the music industry, which is far too orchestrated for its’ own good or that of its’ listeners much of the time, Linge’s unpretentious approach to both his audience and his performing is nearly as refreshing as his self penned repertoire of likeable folk/pop/soft rock songs.
As someone who has passed through several eras of popular music, including, as a youngster, the hey-day of some of Lynge’s main musical influences: Cat Stevens, Crosby, Stills, Nash and/or Young and Simon and Garfunkle, hearing his narrative lyrics delivered with such warmth and sincerity was at times, a bit like revisiting some old, formerly lived with friends, friends whose music not only lingers on in the backbeat of my consciousness, but also, still has the power to speak to its listeners today, whatever their ages or generational backgrounds. At his best, some of Lynge’s well observed, expressively performed songs perch on the outskirts of this timeless camp of endlessly listenable music, at worst, for lack of a better term, he is still an excellent performer and stand–out musician whose songs sometimes tend to veer a little more towards pastiche than they may need to, a phenomena which occurs to the best of writers of all genres which is generally ironed out with time.
This gig, the last on Lynge’s month-long UK tour was launched to celebrate the release of his debut single, ‘Infinitely You,’ and a very fine song it is too. The accompanying video, filmed high atop a glacier in Greenland, on an undiscernibly low budget, provides the perfect setting for this timely song of self-love as it applies to earth reclaiming, i.e. the boundaries between where mankind begins and our planet leaves off becoming more indistinguishable. Despite being richly harmonic, with a strong focus on lyrics, particularly its catchy chorus, ‘Look around, up and down, all of this is infinitely you,’ sung in a deceptively smooth, ardently persuasive voice, the song emits an urgency strong enough to encourage its’ listeners to at least mentally reaccess their potentially cavalier ‘use it or lose it’ attitudes towards earth, in favour of more responsible, eco-friendly lifestyles, all in a genuinely listenable format. Happily, this song, a pop/rock hybrid of sorts has ‘hit’ written all over it, as evidenced by the fact that after just two listenings, this seemingly hardened pop-phobic found herself not just humming its melody line but gamely attempting to sing along with its irresistibly catchy lyrics, which others in the small pub were also enthusiastically doing at this UK tour closing gig.
Additional stand-outs in Lynge’s earnestly performed set included the initially forgone sixties throwback, ‘The Future’ which gradually reveals its’ song-writer’s own distinctive inflections and light, yet far from airy fairy riffs and phrases which similarly, quickly threaten to linger on in your head indefinitely, firmly re-establishing Linge as a musician/song-writer to listen out for. Its’ narrative, lyrical dreams of ‘the open road’ and earnestly performed, impressively wide ranging vocals mark this track out as another winner. As if that wasn’t enough, on this number, Linge’s wonderfully expressive voice wavered near a young Paul Simon’s as his hopeful lyrics reflected on some of the seminal work of Cat Stevens, a la Tea for the Tillerman, with additional depth, courtesy of his wife Jan’s lovely backing vocals. ‘Bird’s Eye View’ with its’ slightly quirky melody lines is a compulsively likeable song which aims to hit listeners’ fancies more deeply, the more they hear it. ‘Love Comes Back to You’ has all the earmarks of a summer festival anthem, and ‘So and So’ with its’ twangy touches of cowboy irony ‘on a six string’ as the song says, further emphasises both the expanse of Lynge’s impressive vocal range, and also, his expressive guitar playing. In true folk/road tradition, Lynge accompanies himself on acoustic guitar for most of his numbers, and does so very well, handily switching from full –bodied, sunny style to more pensive as required, before switching to piano on a couple of songs, among them the emotive ‘If You Go,’ an upbeat song with downbeat lyrics which Brian Wilson might appreciate, that will surely continue to grow on those listening to it on Lynge’s upcoming debut album, The Future, scheduled for release on Lo-max in February, 2010.
Although live, we felt a particularly strong buzz of excitement in relation to Lynge’s songs offering the ‘unplugged’ sound the minimum of musical accompaniment provides, and harmonically lilting backing vocals by his talented wife Jan, his finely penned, performed and produced single, ‘Infinitely You’, which conversely, features what sounds like a sitar in places, among other instruments, in its recorded version, strikes just the right balance between pop and genre-defying classic. So much so, that from your first hearing of it, you may feel certain, as we, and many others in the audience at the Boogaloo obviously did too, as evidenced by their audible excitement as Lynge began to play and sing his debut single, that this musician is definitely going places. No doubt, before too long, those of us who were there along the way will be glad to say we knew him when.
See the video for ‘Infinitely You’, which was filmed on a glacier at 3300 feet near Tasiilaq, East Greenland by cinematographer Anders Agerbo.
Watch out for Simon Lynge’s upcoming debut album The Future - release date February 2010
Copyright © EXTRA! EXTRA All rights reserved