Our Take: The Enchanting Siren Song of I SEE RIVERS’ Debut ‘Standing Barefoot’ EP

I See Rivers © 2017

Our Rating

Recommended If You Like: The Staves, Dresses, Blind Pilot

The siren song is more than a mythical thing of legend and lore, thanks to acts like I SEE RIVERS. The Liverpool-based Norwegian trio of Eline Brun, Gøril Nilsen, and Lill Scheie call their music “float folk,” possibly because of its light nature, but more likely because of how it sends the heart soaring above dreamy clouds. Delicate melodies and spellbinding harmonies abound on I SEE RIVERS’ recently-released debut EP Standing Barefoot, a majestic work of art that promises to haunt all wayward souls.

Standing Barefoot – I SEE RIVERS


Often dubbed the “Norwegian Staves,” I SEE RIVERS craft an enchanting soundscape (similar to that of UK sister trio The Staves) through lush vocal harmonies, acoustic and electric guitar, and light percussion. Their lyrically sparse arrangements are dense with meaning: They linger on words and repeat phrases, exploring the raw beauty of the English languge while giving tired sentences new life. Opener “Barefoot” is a stark, introspective admission of an individual’s lingering insecurities despite her progress and growth.

Standing barefoot, I see
many opportunities ahead
But I don’t have faith at all
Head high, I still stumble
My mind changes with the turning leaves
And I don’t have faith at all

I SEE RIVERS paint their reflections without constraint, building slowly up to emotionally-heavy outpourings that wash over the listener like a musical waterfall. EP single “DA RAM” is the lightest of the band’s songs, its sprightly melody a refreshing spark. The trio describe it as a “reminder of letting things go, having fun, and appreciating the small things.”

Watch: “DA RAM” – I SEE RIVERS


Yet I SEE RIVERS excel in the melancholy space: Their song “Evening Light” is an incredible lament of being apart from another: “Together last December, do you remember us now? I wish you could see the city, oh it would look so pretty through your eyes,” the group sing quaintly. “I’ll keep falling for you, falling steady for you…” A mesmerizing, simple guitar pattern provides a fragile structure upon which the band’s voices shine with life.

A messy soul, a restless eye
A heavy heart, a pretty lifeline
The beauty is how it’s carried
– “Ocean” by I SEE RIVERS

Ocean” captures the darkness of I SEE RIVERS’ homeland of Norway, where it was written. It bears the mark of a landscape that doesn’t see the sun for months at a time, its stirring a thing to behold.

Standing Barefoot - I See Rivers

Standing Barefoot – I SEE RIVERS

I SEE RIVERS close their musical introduction with “Slow Down,” a round that exhibits the trio’s magnificent vocal manipulations: Their three-part harmonies swoop high and dive low in an utterly breathtaking display: We feel the magic of the moment, and as a crescendo of harmonies engulf us in I SEE RIVERS’ final moments, there comes a sense of relief and revelation: Standing Barefoot takes a little of the mystery, charm and allure of our wondrous world, and packs it tight for all to enjoy.

The present and future are exceptionally bright for I SEE RIVERS, whose haunting songs drum up powerful emotions in a way that only a special few artists can ever do. Those in the UK can catch I SEE RIVERS on tour this May – see full dates below, and find more info on the artist’s social pages. Experience the siren song of Standing Barefoot for yourself now, and peek inside I SEE RIVERS’ self-produced debut EP with Atwood Magazine as the trio provide their personal take on each of their songs.

I See Rivers © 2017

I See Rivers © 2017

:: Inside Standing Barefoot ::

Standing Barefoot - I See Rivers

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Barefoot

The whole EP is a collection of songs we feel represent different eras of our time together here in England. “Barefoot” is a song about new beginnings and the contrast between feeling both hopeful and insecure about the future.

DA RAM

We take our work very seriously, but “DA RAM” is a reminder of letting things go, having fun and appreciating the small things. Gøril and Lill had actually started writing “DA RAM” before Eline became a part of the band, but we finished it together in one of the first writing sessions we did as a band.

Evening Light

“Evening Light” is simply a song about missing our loved ones back home in Norway.

Ocean

“Ocean” is the only track from the EP that was written in Norway. When we produced this track we wanted to capture the “darkness” from where it was written; Northern Norway (where the sun goes away for most of the winter).

Slow Down

We wrote Slow Down on a very sunny day on our balcony in Liverpool. It was the day before we went into the studio to start recording our EP and since we thought it represented the way we felt at the time very well, we decided that we wanted to record it straight away and put it on the EP.
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:: Stream / Purchase Standing Barefoot ::

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Standing Barefoot - I See Rivers

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cover: I SEE RIVERS © 2017

I See Rivers 2017 tour poster


Standing Barefoot  – I SEE RIVERS

Standing Barefoot - I See Rivers

Standing Barefoot – I SEE RIVERS

The Breakdown

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com