Vök – “In The Dark” (2019)

I’m not sure how many times we’ve seen Vök live over the years.  Four?  Five?  It’s something like that.  The first time was in April 2013 right after they’d won Músíktilraunir, Iceland’s annual Battle Of The Bands.  They seemed so young and shy on stage at Faktorý, but even then you could tell their sound was special.  It’s been fun watching them evolve into confident performers, particularly vocalist Margrét Rán who is able to walk that magical fine line between self-assurance and vulnerability.

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In The Dark is Vök’s second full-length release, coming on the heels of 2017s Figure and a pair of earlier EPs, Circles and Tension.  It finds the band very polished, every song near-perfect in composition and production.  Rán’s voice tends to stay in a lower register, husky and breathless, injecting a human element onto the primarily electronic musical canvas.  If anything In The Dark feels like a more toward a more adult contemporary space.  While that genre is oft-maligned and usually reserved to imply something less-than-favorable, those criticisms miss the point, the point that there is plenty of room for enjoyable music in that space.  These songs can find a home on the dance floor, but also in your car stereo when you’re out and about making life happen.  “No Direction” is my favorite track, one that breaks free a bit from the overall sound of In The Dark, its wave-like synths and Rán extending herself into a higher range making it a refreshing mid-point to the album.

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