Newcomers are encouraged to indulge in these both cheerful and sullen tunes.
Luke Slater 2009
As an artist with a fair-sized, if not substantial, back catalogue behind him already, Faroese singer-songwriter Teitur Lassen remains somewhat of an enigma to listeners on these shores, despite 2009 seeing the worldwide release of the lingering, dark masterpiece that is The Singer, his fourth album. The purpose of All My Mistakes – a patchwork of emotional digressions from various points in his career – is to serve as an introduction to the man’s languid and mystical Nordic charm.
Such is the nature of any single-artist compilation, fluency is an eternal obstacle and it’s a tough leap here. A jump is exactly what we have, though, once the disappointingly dull opening quartet is left behind. It’s almost like a layer of fatty skin – embodied in the MOR-bordering Don’t Want You To Wake Up and You’re The Ocean – to be sliced off, revealing the juicy flesh located underneath. Do exactly this and early patience is rewarded with a significant rise in quality and impact.
It is not until the minor key, lovelorn tale of I Run the Carousel that you begin to fully comprehend Teitur’s talent and truly get to hear what he’s about. It sees discordant strikes of the piano in a contrasting chorus after a verse of melodious lyricism and carefree chords. Elsewhere, the bare-bones minimalism approach works as well as the grand orchestrations, the acoustic strum-fest of I Was Just Thinking comprising the former, and the enduring crescendo helping You Get Me to morph into the latter. Yet the problem with this record’s composition is that, inexplicably, it almost betrays the brilliance found in his more sombre and searching moments; those very moments which were so brilliantly demonstrated on The Singer, which arguably make up career highs.
All My Mistakes does its job as an introduction to the Faroe Islands’ finest musical export. Yet the primary issue is that the surface is only scratched and – knowing that the man has released work with more depth, delicacy and, arguably, quality – this is at times a frustrating listen for already established fans of Lassen. Newcomers, however, would be rightfully encouraged to pick it up and indulge in Teitur’s tranquil tones and both cheerful and sullen tunes.