Inspired by his love of Björk, Múm and others, Alex Snook set off on an adventure to Iceland, the country of these artists’ birth. Naturally it seemed only right that he should make an album during his stay there. It made perfect sense too for Snook’s adoption of the folktronica sound on past releases owes a small debt to Múm in particular.
Despite the somewhat ominous suggestion of the title, the overall mood of ‘The Bridge Between Life & Death’ is one of joy. Its apparent from the quirky beginning featuring the rarely used (or even seen) sound cradle where the melody can only be described as cute and colourful. ‘Björn Of The Mendips’ recounts the tale of a legendary dog, ‘Snorris Saga’ contains some very audible snoring and the titular bridge is so-called because of its location between a nursing home and a cemetery. All of this suggests some wonderful Scandinavian fairy tale full of fascinating characters and secret places and that’s really what it sounds like.
Strings, found sounds, electronica and a variety of unidentified instruments all contribute but above it all is Snook interpreting these myths and poems into musical form. There are lovely flowing instrumentals such as modern classical piece ‘The Verge Of Winter’, assistance is enlisted from various local guests including Benni Hemm Hemm for the gloriously moving ‘Thufur Thoroughfare’ whilst the frenetic ‘Magret The Outlaw’ adds intensity to the mix.
On his previous album, ‘(Falling From) The Nutty Tree’, Snook had the ideas but there were so many of them the results were as confusing as they were inspired. For ‘The Bridge Between Life & Death’, however, he has nailed the cohesion and the result is one of the most tuneful and vibrant albums you will hear this year.
Four Tet, Minotaur Shock, Múm