’Military Arms’ is the debut output by Gothenburg-based sound-smith Irma Krook. Up until now primarily known as bass player & founding member of death pop vanguards Makthaverskani, Krook has composed four tracks of ethereal beauty, in the sanctity of her own home.
Krook conjures up a cavern of sweet sorrow and reverb in front of us, a portal to another dimension of epic, romantic doom and emotion, gently takes us by the hand and steps in. Krook constantly faces up to massive waves of swirling harmonies that threaten to swallow her, her vocal building upon itself into towering infernos. Underneath, the instrumentation suggests the grandeur of mid 80s Europe re-told with consumer synths and classic pre-sets. An aching fragility pervades, belying the humbleness of the recording. Rhythms are rudimentary, in total service to the crushing waves of glacial harmony, synth lines are massive, permanent, revolving and making the whole exercise an abstract take on song.
What’s undeniable is the power of Krook’s voice and handle on bittersweet melody. When the music subsides as on Military Arms we get a teasing glimpse of the lower reaches of her voice with a strident violin march defenestrated by the howling reverb. Awake, At Last has a soporific drift that reminds us of Dead Can Dance covering Molly Nilsson, the hazy synth and keyboard lines weaving a mist in front of Krook’s outsider-looking-in vocal performances. Closer A Woman’s Hand takes it down to a piano caked in reverb and Krook’s wilting falsetto that further serves to pry the last chains from the listener’s heart.
Recorded simply into her phone and laptop using what ever tools she had to hand, these performances strike hard. Naked except for the tendrils of reverb and harmony, a creeping sense of loss fighting with the utter beauty of an unstoppably pretty, gorgeous voice.
Military Arms – Irma Krook has been added to your bag.