Greenland native, actress and singer/songwriter, Nive Nielsen together with her band, The Deer Children, are gifting the world with their latest work February 7th, 2016. Feet First is Nive’s second album and is a plump, ripe and ready to indulge in record. It is adorned with incredibly rich instrumentation, lyricism and atmosphere that dance between worlds both dark and whimsical, tense and soft, sweet and bitter. Feet First was a project that was created, dreamt about and brought to life in a number of locations between 2012 and 2015. About the record Nive said:
“I wanted these songs to grow with me on my travels and they did just that. The first track on the album, “Still The Same”, for example would have never had that lazy, warm feel without going to southern Arizona and playing with Howe Gelb (Giant Sand) and his Tucson crew in the comfort of their own homes. Also, the same goes for songs like “Tulugaq”, track four. I wrote that song along with a set of twelve year old twin girls from a foster care far up north in Uummannaq, Greenland. It was the very last song recorded for the album and would have never happened if I recorded this album traditionally in one place.”
I first listened to Feet First during a gorgeous and sunny cross country ski, alone. I couldn’t have picked a better soundtrack for the blue skies offering majestic views of the perfect landscape surrounding me. I felt like I was flying, completely disconnected from the fact that I was working hard on a long and skinny pair of skis. Nive’s voice demanded my attention. The Deer Children’s broad spectrum of both unique and familiar instruments allowed me to experience sadness, elation and childlike sentiment.
The record opens with “Still the Same.” If you’re someone who judges an album by it’s first cut, and you like “Still the Same”, I can promise you will adore each following song equally as much. It introduces the mysterious quality of Nive’s voice and the fantastical instrumentals. The track begins and ends in two completely different places. Check it out:
The following track, “Are You Ready”, carries a mood of darkness shrouding secrets only Nive and her Deer Children know. A level of detail is paid to the instrumentals in her music that makes her unique. Upon the second chorus, subtleties are added on. Building percussion, gentle taps you may have missed your first listen . Then the cello comes in and by the end of the track, scratches on the strings of an electric guitar intensify. “Are You Ready” is easily one of my favorite tracks on the album.
Tracks like “Walking”and “Wrong” have more pop-oriented sounds but still hold true to Nive’s absolutely unique songwriting skills.
“In My Head” and “Happy” are shapeshifters. “In My Head” takes a wild turn at the end. It dives down a tunnel of chaotic brass and electric guitar, reminiscent of the moments in which we feel wild in our own heads. “Happy” begins melancholic but morphs into this jovial piece with twinkling xylophones, joyous and sentimental strings. It has an almost circus-like quality by the time it’s wrapping up.
Finally, one of the most endearing songs is “Space Song”, a track about finding your place in life whether you’re at a party, somewhere new or just trying to be a better person by conquering simple fears. It’s an imaginative and playful track about fitting in.
I can’t keep up with Nive and I love it. She even treats her listeners to songs entirely sung in her native Greenlandic language. Overall, I’m boiling over with positive comments about this record. It struck me over the head as something magnificent, intimidating and beautiful.