The Reykjavik-based Canadian song siren MSEA has released a new EP, Hiding Under Things. In just four tracks and under 16 minutes, listeners travel through a soundscape captivated by expressive vocals and layers of dreamy melodies. Hiding Under Things is an ode to escapism, a journey back to her earliest teenage beginnings of her songwriting career, she recently explained in an interview with The Reykjavik Grapevine. The lyrics, however, are anything but juvenile. Stated plainly in the track, “Golded,” MSEA ruminates, “We are filled with love and grief,” evoking such a pure declaration in such an ethereal manner it seems grounding and expansive all at once.
Hiding Under Things opens with the track, “Yuri” with a contemplative piano that sets a tone for seems like will be an ambient and quieter EP, before the delicate vocals begin, calling to the listener like a lullaby. The layered vocals between MSEA and additional vocalist Sunna Friðjonsdóttir reverberate and soar above the grounding of the straightforwardness of the piano. In many ways the opening track feels as the welcome mat before one enters the doorway into a different dimension of sound.
Following the first track, “Golded,” seems to be a journey further into the unusual and away from the everyday growing more distorted as it continues and ushers in the noisier, “Ei Boy.” The layers and arrangement of “Ei Boy” delve into a deeper trip-hop avenue and call to mind the likes of Massive Attack’s Mezzanine and Portishead’s Dummy.
Bringing the EP to a close, “Glass for Feet” begins, “Nevermind, Nevermind, it’s over if you say it so.” It continues the trip hop feel of “Ei Boy” and there is a raw vulnerability in the lyrics that build with the swelling of sound in the second half of the track. Undoubtedly listeners are left wanting more as the final song ends and surely anyone listening will be anticipating what’s next for MSEA. Perhaps if her work together with master, engineer, and producer Albert Finnbogason continues, the world will get the trip-hop album the 21st century needs.
MSEA celebrated her release of Hiding Under Things with performance at Iðnó supported by the Ice Pop queen herself, KRÍA, as well as the shoegazey fuzzpop band Oyama. Special set and lighting installation were completed by Raphaël Alexandre and Claire Paugam.