This is the first full-length release from Iceland's Sóley Stefánsdóttir. The bespectacled multi-instrumentalist from Iceland had been around the world and back with her band, Seabear, when she finally discovered her own vocal skills. Even though Sóley sings non-stop in private, creating a musical backdrop to pretty much everything she does, it just took her a while to get used to the sound of her own voice. It's the sound of this voice that's at the very core of her intricate compositions, tracks that flare like a bunch of magic lanterns, taking shape, growing hazy, flaming up once again, then moving on. Sóley sans Seabear is basically a storyteller who has come up with her very own wonderland. Meet her on the street and she seems rather introverted; yet, she's far from shy in this self-created musical sphere, a sonic realm she freely expands, stakes out, reinvents, turns upside-down. Throughout the album, Sóley spins one yarn after the next; at one point, unfortunate "Smashed Birds" have to give their feathers for a new dress, while the guitar, making a special appearance, sets the tone. Elsewhere, she focuses on the moment when a dream is exposed as such, this time over a huge sonic expanse drowned in reverb. Song after song, the former student of composition manages to combine seemingly disparate elements with stunning ease -- a snap of her fingers and a click of the tongue. After Theater Island, 2010's 6-track EP, Sóley presents an album full of rhythmic, makeshift creatures, of handclaps hidden in the undergrowth, tempting us to join in. These tracks are sometimes incredibly catchy; amazingly quirky at other times: think cardigan-folk from the northern hemisphere, think Joanna Newsom minus her harp, or the CocoRosie sisters circa 2004, but clearly better-trained and less crooked. In other words: her voice, those loops moving around like wooden toys, and finally the piano -- that's the backbone, the essence of her compositions; at least until some unexpected element appears.