Release Date: Apr 29, 2014
Record label: Anti
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
Taken at face value, the music of Majka Voss Romme can be a daunting proposition. It seems to be composed from a palette of unutterable darkness and pain – thudding, cavernous percussion intertwines with spectral piano chords and terse swathes of strings. However, if the listener adopts a more meditative mood when listening to Broken Twin, they can find a dichotomous, paradoxical light buried in the dark.
Majke Voss Romme, the Danish singer/songwriter operating the gears behind the curtain of Copenhagen's Broken Twin, has a voice that perfectly (and sonorously) evokes the Old English word uhtceare, which means to "lie awake before dawn worrying. " It's both a balm and a tinderbox, delivering bad news soulfully and slivers of hope with great caution, and when paired with equally austere instrumentation, which consists largely of piano, electric guitar, and the occasional courtly/processional thrum of a single drum, it carries with it the weight of the world. Broken Twin's Anti debut, the warm, weary, and largely funereal May, will be of no use to listeners with whom artists like Antony & the Johnsons, Daughter, Susanna & the Magical Orchestra, and Tindersticks do not resonate.
Had you asked what caused my eyes to fleetingly well, I would have blamed allergies; dust from a city closing down for the week. But in truth, it was a reaction to a first listen to Broken Twin's 'Glimpse Of A Time'. Danish songstress Majke Voss Romme's crystalline vocals overwhelmed my headphones as I waited on a bustling train station concourse; love's fragile, transient and unfairly balanced nature drawn into sharp focus with a simple melody and the line "What was I but a glimpse of a time?/In your life...In your life".
There’s lots to admire about Denmark’s Majke Voss Romme, aka Broken Twin. Her voice is beautiful, quivering between a less teary Cat Power and a less lispy Antony Hegarty. On this, her debut album, she layers it over softly humming beds of cello, piano and guitar. It’s at its most affecting on ‘The Aching’ and the Bat For Lashes-like ‘Sun Has Gone’, where things are lullaby-lovely.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. While simple is often better, there is such a thing as too simple. There is a very fine line between effective minimalism and the easily missed, a line that Broken Twin unfortunately crosses too often on May. This is not to say that Broken Twin's music is bad.
When Majke Voss Romme sings, “what was I/but a glimpse of a time”, on May’s second track, beyond the obvious personal relationship connotation, she may as well be referring to herself as an artist. Romme, performing under her nom de plume, Broken Twin, hearkens back with her unadorned guitar and piano arrangements and affecting lyrics to such early poetic singer/songwriters from decades of yore as Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake. While Romme certainly bats an eye back to such artists, her particular brand of music is both timeless and a material thread in the fabric of today’s nascent Scandinavian folk and pop scene.