Published Jun 30, 2014The Norwegian artist and multi-instrumentalist known as Bernhoft (born Jarle Bernhoft) dubs his style as retro-soul — a sound that he manages to restructure with flexibility, to quality results. Opening track "Come Around" sees Bernhoft deliver a capable falsetto and faithful interpretation of '80s-styled pop-R&B. Standouts include the slow-burner "Don't Let Me Go," a sweet number that proves he's not here to fake the funk, and the organ-powered "No Us, No Them," which feels tailor-made for guest star Jill Scott's trademark vocals.
The rest of Islander offers nothing mind-blowing, but manages to serve up lounge-worthy vibes via tracks like "Freedom," "Everything Will Be Alright" and "Believe in All of the Things You Don't." Overall, Bernhoft's slice of Scandinavian soul goes down easy but plays it a tad too safe. Islander is worth a few spins but ultimately leaves you wanting to see Bernhoft push his boundaries a bit more. (Big Picnic)