Considering this is his debut album, Axel Flóvent has been somewhat of a prolific songwriter to date. Since 2016’s Forest Fires, there has been an EP every year, along with a steady stream of singles, all of which have confirmed the Icelandic singer as a master of emotive and thoughtful song writing.
Drawing upon experience from his travels over the last few years, before settling down in Reykjavik to write his first full-length release, You Stay By The Sea hears Axel Flóvent in a pensive mood. Opening track “Tonight”, from which the album title is derived, sets the tone for what follows: Thoughtful and tender folk viewed through a soft focus. There are moments of understated calm, as evidenced on “Tourist”, but there are also times when Flóvent bursts into life with a flourish. “Driving Hours” and “Haunted”, with its own superb trumpet solo, attest to this.
Overall, You Stay By The Sea is a wholesome offering. A feeling of warm contentedness arises from its familiarity, which in turn comes about from Flóvent's state of mind while penning the album.
The peaceful Icelandic surroundings it was written in have a part to play too. “It’s just quiet,” Flóvent explains. “There are so many times where the silence is so still. In Reykjavík, we have a lot of emotional and mind space. My path to the studio and running trail are just by the ocean, so I’m always by the sea, hence the title. When I moved back in late 2018, I felt settled. I wasn’t looking for anything anymore. I finally appreciate home and see the beauty in it.”
And so it is with this album as a whole. There’s nothing overstated or embellished about it. Like a hearty home-cooked meal, or a long-overdue hug from a friend you’ve not seen in a while, You Stay By The Sea is comforting music that’ll nourish your soul.