Music history is littered with unexpected collaborations and bands. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings offer arguably the best example of a group coming together by chance and persistence. U2 formed when Larry Mullen put up a poster asking schoolmates to come out for a band practice. The Police’s formation started with a chance meeting and the good fortune of Gordon Sumner moving to London and jamming with Stewart Copeland. These individuals, however, all resided within proximity of each other. What about traversing the Atlantic to start a band? Specifically, leaving the New York City area, which is littered with artists, and head to Iceland to find your musical soulmates?
This is what Moji Abiola did, leaving the confines of her Long Island home and heading to Reykjavik, Iceland. There she joined multi-instrumentalists Frosti Jón Runolfsson and Bjarni M Sigurðarson to form Moji & The Midnight Sons. The trio are not your typical Icelandic band nor even a New York City one. Instead, their music breathes of the rock ‘n roll from the United States’ deep south, the classic Brit rock that The Rolling Stones and The Who ushered in during the ’60s, and the blue-collar rock that Bruce Springsteen has made famous. They have, however, added a bluesy and soulful element a la Alabama Shakes and the tendency of Iceland bands to balance the material, immaterial, and natural.
Moji & The Midnight Sons will release their debut album next month, and the second single is “Island”, which we are pleased to premiere today. The band offers the following about the song:
“Here is ‘Island’, a story about the desire to breach the distance between our inherently ephemeral existence and elements of nature (the ocean, mountains, air) that will exist long after we are no longer here.”
The song sounds exactly like how Moji & The Midnight Sons have described. It is an icy alt-folk number that mirrors the balladry of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ collaboration. Like this famous power duo, the chemistry between the Abiola, Runolfsson, and Sigurðarson is unmistakable. The latter two create a soundscape that feels like isolation, where every note is accentuated by the silence that surrounds it. Abiola’s vocals, meanwhile, are warm and intoxicating, where you are left hanging on to every word she sings. By the end of the song, you will be left saying, “What a voice!”
Hear “Island” below. Their first single, “Dog Days of Summer”, which showcases the band’s rock ‘n roll side, is also below.
Their debut album, What I Saw on the Way to Myself, will be self-released on October 21st. The band will be playing Iceland Airwaves (November 2-6), and a European tour will shortly follow.
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