When approaching the first album by the Icelandic band Pascal Pinon, you’ll need to leave all your cynicism and world-weariness at the door. In fact, if you have an even slight dislike of cheerfulness or innocence, you may just want to turn tail and run, because the record is overflowing with each. Twin sisters Jófríður and Ásthildur and their two friends (Halla and Kristín) play a brand of low-key folk-pop that could easily be dismissed as the overly cute bedroom warblings of a melancholy clutch of lovelorn teenage girls. Granted, the girls in the band are all teenagers and the music does sound like it was crafted in a bedroom on a sad, sunny Sunday afternoon, but it’s not cute. Cuteness implies some kind of emotional distance from the songs or some kind of contrivance in the sound, and neither of these really apply here. There is plenty of real emotion on display; the girls' achingly clear voices and unspoiled harmonies deliver all kinds of feelings, and the tender melodies, built around minor chords and sparse arrangements, leave no space for artifice. Sure, they could have done without the slide whistle that mars a couple of the songs near the beginning, but otherwise the simple and honest sound they create from acoustic guitars, glockenspiel, and the occasional keyboard casts a delicately magical spell. Some of the magic comes from them singing most of the songs in Icelandic, a language that lends itself surprisingly well to their songs. The rest comes from just how perfectly the songs, sound, and voices come together. Pascal Pinon is a truly lovely record, powerful enough to melt the hearts of even the most cynical grumps, if only they’d give it a chance.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra