There are two major types of music that originate from Scandinavia: metal and singer/songwriters. So when I heard that Moddi was from Norway, I was not sure if I should expect something along the lines of Annie and Sondre Lerche or Emperor and Dimmu Borgir. It turns out Moddi’s debut album, Floriography is not similar to any of these.
Moddi is 23-year-old Pål Moddi Knutsen who writes lush emotional indie pop music. Floriography‘s opening track “Rubbles” is mostly based around accordion. Moddi’s voice reminds me of Sufjan Stevens but the song itself sounds like something from The Microphones‘ The Glow Pt. 2 album. It has the same emotionally wrought feel of Phil Elvrum’s songwriting.
The most emotional of Moddi’s songs appears to be “Smoke.” The track features Vashti Bunyan-esque finger-picked acoustic guitar and not much else in the way of instrumentation. The song seems to nothing more than a sparse acoustic ballad until it suddenly crescendos with a flurry of horns and drums. The arrangement is beautiful and really shows all that Moddi is capable of.
Unfortunately, I feel like what is really good about “Smoke” is what is missing from a lot of Floriography. The album often feels under arranged with songs only featuring guitar and accordion or violin. The other problem is that the album is comprised purely of slow tempo ballads which make songs blend into one another and makes it feel painfully slow.