Borko – Born to be Free album review

Open your mouth, show me your teeth, it’s all part of who you are, sings Borko in “Born to be Free.” And as he invites listeners to do so, so do they get to further explore Borko’s world via his second full-length album.

When he isn’t making his electro-acoustic tunes, Iceland native Björn Kristianson—aka Borko—divulges his talent as a film and theater musician, as well as elementary school music teacher. By the time he focused on his solo career, Borko had already been active in the Reykjavic music scene for years, playing in several Icelandic bands such as Rúnk, FM Belfast, and Skakkamanage. He’s also toured worldwide, sharing stages with artists like múm and Seabear. In 2001, he released the Trees & Limbo EP, followed by his first full-length album titled Celebrating Life in 2008.

Born To Be Free was released on October 16th, 2012 by Sound Of A Handshake. What ensues is a dreamy-acoustic exploration of Borko’s multilayered realm. In comparison to the first album, Born to be Free has a more transcendental and darker vibe. It also has more lyrical content this time around, as it lacks its predecessor’s instrumental tracks.

The beautiful title track is a gentle acoustic invitation to self-acceptance whereas “Abandoned in the Valley of Knives” embodies sadness via minimal yet biting lyrical content, making way for the instrumentals to shine as the intense orchestrated closing sequence goes out with a bang. “Bodies” diffuses a palpable otherworldly, airy feel with a surprise folk-ish ending, as “Sing to the World” closes on a positive note, condoning said activity.

As demonstrated via his second effort, Borko has successfully fused the electronic-indie rock genres once again. With a hypnotically futuristic yet down-to-earth acoustic sound coupled with unconventional lyrics, Borko can neither be labeled predictable nor boring.

Iceland: source of yet another unique artist whose name starts with “b.”

By Natacha Pavlov

Natacha Pavlov is an avid reader, writer, and traveler. Aside from eating ridiculous amounts of chocolate from her native Belgium, she can be found consuming large quantities of tea, falafel and lebneh in the lovely Bay Area.

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