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Teitur: 'Catherine the Waitress'

Teitur Lassen.
Teitur Lassen.

Singer-songwriter Teitur Lassen originates from the Faroe Islands (which translates to Sheep Islands), a remote spot of land between Iceland and Norway. On his third album, The Singer, Teitur's arrangements are quiet and sparse, but he sings with such confidence and fervor that the effect is, at times, gripping. "Guilt By Association," for example, tells a story about an accidental murder, with thrilling lines like, "Run away, they are coming to get us now." These minor-key dirges are clearly his signature, but some of the more immediately accessible and uplifting moments come when he loosens up.

On "Catherine the Waitress," the backdrop of playful horns from a local brass band give the track a theatricality that keeps things light, while Teitur sings of loving (and lusting) a barroom waitress. "Stop Wasting My Time" has its share of downer moments, but at its core it proves to be an upbeat alt-country tune that sounds like Teitur's best Conor Oberst impression.

For The Singer, Teitur enlisted the help of other musicians from the Scandinavian island of Gotland, where the album was recorded, to expand the orchestration a bit. He says he likes a more communal approach to making music and collaborating with friends. "That's what I have been going back to over the years and maybe that it is a step forward musically," he explains. "I am surrounded by talented people and I am not afraid of taking chances with them."

Teitur still places himself as the subject, though. "As a singer I would not wish to sing about a subject that I know nothing about," Teitur says, referencing the title of his latest album. "If I want to share something with the world today, I may as well talk about the mystery in standing before a crowd to sing. I have been writing music and singing songs my whole life, up to 250 gigs a year."

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Conor McKay