Heiða Eiríksdóttir has been a part of the music scene in Iceland for decades as part of bands as diverse as Unun, DYS, and Hellvar. Recently she has been performing as a solo artist using the nom de music Heidatrubador, releasing the intriguing electro-experimental Third-Eye Slide-Show in 2016. But lest anyone think that Heiða was moving in a more electronic direction, she took a sharp left turn to come at us from a completely different angle with her latest work, Fast.
I mention Heiða’s prior work because Fast is in many ways a departure from what she’s done before – achingly quiet and tender, a woman and her guitar exploring her personal experiences. Fortunately Heidatrubador is willing to share her vulnerabilities with us, presenting them with a wistfulness that can only come from a combination of life experience and perspective. “How many times can you begin… how many times can you begin again?” she asks at the start of “Onthology & Booze”. Indeed, how many? Whether she’s speaking in metaphors as she does in “Root”, describing a young plant trying to establish firm roots, or more directly when articulating the alienating feel of being an outsider trying to connect to a new place in “Curry & Cannabis”, we’re invited to witness and share in her experiences.
While much of Fast’s depth comes out of the lyrics, it’s the music that creates the framework, providing the shape and form upon which the words display themselves. Sonically it has a lo-fi bedroom feel; “It isn’t very far between life and dream” we’re told, and that feels true. Ably aided in the studio by Curver, there’s just enough production to add a dreaminess to Heiða’s voice, and even the occasional harmonica flows as part of the overall vibe, imparting a hint of melancholy without being obtrusive.
It’s easy to lose yourself in Fast’s embrace, but it’s also an album that rewards a deeper listen. Heidatrubador invites you in; it’s for you do decide if you’re going to join her or simply enjoy from a distance.