When I think of Siv Jakobsen I shiver, the words conjure up the image of a storm to me. Not a thundering downpour, but a flurry of snow, whipping up flecks of ice from the ground and turning my vision white. On the other hand, when I hear Siv Jakobsen’s voice, that shiver vanishes, her voice is safe and homely like an open fire and a blanket around the shoulders. It’s this juxtaposition that makes her so interesting, it’s as if she can change the weather with a change of heart, and this is proven on her debut album The Nordic Mellow.
The album begins with ‘To Leave You’ which is just as bittersweet as it sounds. There’s a low, sombre tone to Siv’s vocal that sits heavy as an opener but it builds with a string section, into something far prettier and lighter like a butterfly from a cocoon. ‘Change’ is reflective, and soul bearing in an intriguing way that lets the lyrics unravel a story.
‘Shallow Digger’ is a different turn. It shows a brooding, intimate intensity that otherwise goes unseen on The Nordic Mellow. The compliment the contrast in tone, the video for ‘Shallow Digger’ also see’s Jakobsen out of her comfort zone, at a party. She is still alone as she is in all her videos, but this time she is alone in a room full of people. Check out the video below.
‘Crazy’ is perhaps where all of the parts of The Nordic Mellow truly come together. It’s one of the points where the band is at its fullest, but even then it’s still stripped to minimalist sound and the fuller backing pushes Siv Jakobsen’s vocals to be bigger and bolder, maybe she feels emboldened by the love she sings about but either way it’s a marvel to listen to.
Soon after ‘Crazy’ comes the crushing blow of ‘Like I Used To’ which tells a tale of cheating partners, and features lines like ‘There’s a boulder on your chest from the weight of the words that you keep to yourself’. Jakobsen’s incredibly storytelling skills leave the listener reeling, a dull aching in the chest following listening to this song. ‘Berry and Whythe’ details time spent in New York and sort of acts as a closing of that chapter of Jakobsen’s life.
The final track ‘Space’ is pure and effortless. It exemplifies the most simply poignant part of The Nordic Mellow: Siv Jakobsen’s voice. She shows the ability to make a song sound as big as Elbow were doing by their third album.
Listen to The Nordic Mellow here and catch Siv when she comes to the UK on tour in the Autumn.