The first track of Rafn Emilsson's Eftir 8 (After 8) has a medium-tempo, breezy-Brazilian vibe. It sounds like the beginning of another Stan Getz bossa-nova album--not a bad thing. Apparently, first tracks can deceive as much as book covers. The next tune, "Knúsumst um stund," over-repeats phrases and its arrangement is too similar to the opener's. Rhythms do change and there are a few unusual meters during the rest of this set of nine originals by Emilsson, but variety and surprise are largely missing.
Not that there aren't redeeming moments. "Risakisa," that lightly floating opener, recalls Rio's sunny beach. "Dvergbóndi" is another pleasant tune with brief, sure-footed solos by both Gudjónnson and Emilsson. And the closing, "Lagstúfur," again channels the Getz vibe.
Most other tracks, however, need more energy. Tempos begin to flag with an insipid "Náráfar," and over the rest of the release, the Rio frolic turns into a limp, rainy day in Nantucket, without the wonderful clam chowder or more appropriately in this case, in Reykjavik without the grated puffin. But maybe that was the effect Emilsson was after and I'm missing the point. The recently jilted may love listening as they sip scotch and watch raindrops slide down a cold window pane.
Such prospective buyers should know that album notes are in Icelandic and do little more than list song titles and musicians. Also, it will be difficult to find the CD in the U.S. The Internet source provided is a European download-site, which helps artists distribute music and increase their share of revenue from sales. If that idea appeals to you by the way, checkout U.S. based ArtistShare. It has similar benefits for performers and allows fans to observe and help finance the projects of musicians such as arranger Maria Schneider. The money you'd otherwise spend on Eftir 8 might find a better cause there.