Thursday, 1 April 2010

Tetur, The Cluny, Newcastle, 13.10.09

Walking through the audience onto the stage of The Cluny in Newcastle, baby-faced Teitur Lassen smiles nervously and picks up his guitar. Teitur is probably the Faroe Island’s biggest pop star, and armed with his 3rd English-language album, The Singer, released last year, the ‘angel of the North’ is looking to establish a fanbase in the UK. Teitur and his band are squeezed onto the teeny stage, surrounded by equipment- I never see the bassist, his face hidden behind an impressive tower of amps throughout the set. He writes sweet and melodic songs about girls; girls from his childhood, girls that hitchhike and even girls he doesn’t know. The fact that English is not Teitur’s mother tongue means that his lyrics have a lack of pretence about them, often simple and charming. Don’t Want You To Wake Up, the first song, showcases his youthful voice and melodic guitar work, which quickly catch the attention of the audience, made up of students and arty-Geordies. Whilst playing he looks very relaxed, the only sign of exertion coming in a single bead of sweat that falls from his forehead during Josephine. Louis Louis (not Louie Louie) continues Teitur’s inoffensive blend of personal lyrics and a strong melody. These songs are all perfectly nice, but a couple of the songs stray dangerously close to John Mayer/James Morrison territory and could get Teitur lumped into the turgid landfill of bed-wetting singer-songwriters that make Jo Whiley excited. However, when Teitur tells us to ‘just imagine an American highway’, Hitchhiker changes the pace of the set. The bluesy riff contrasts with his innocent vocals and a few intermittent blasts of aggressive distorted guitar give the song a pleasing dark edge. Hopefully Teitur will continue down this more experimental road which, coupled with the charm and sincerity of his other songs, will set him apart from his contemporaries.

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