Listening to Firmament, the second album from Norwegian art-rock trio Dim Gray, is a bit like watching a film with sweeping vistas and melancholy characters. The title itself evokes vastness, and the music reflects that; it is atmospheric in sound and in lyrics.
The music features soaring melodies sung over layers of guitars and synths along with added strings and percussion. This is music to get lost in. It is always compelling, and the tunes, neither too poppy nor too obscure, work their way into your ears with a couple of listens. The excellent vocals, especially on the title track, are worth noting. They are delicate but strong.
Lyrically there is a sense that the members of this band see life as something they pass through rather than something they control. In “Undertow,” for example, they sing, “Gathering speed / I need to breathe / But I’m dragged below.” Water images are used frequently in their lyrics sometimes to project a sense of being overwhelmed and other times of being protected. They seem to be looking for something solid on which to place their feet. In this album, though, they don’t find it. But their intriguing lyrics, along with their unique sound, makes them a band worth seeking out.
About the Author
Robert J. Keeley is Professor of Education Emeritus at Calvin University and a music leader at 14th St CRC in Holland, MI.