Opening with the aptly named “Breathe In,” Low Roar creeps up on listeners in the best of ways. The scratchy, muffled mewl of strings, the thumping, hollow percussion that eventually kicks in, and Ryan Karazija‘s fragile vocals engage in a quiet waltz for seven minutes before the tune dissipates into the mist. Karazija moved to Iceland from the musically fertile San Francisco Bay Area a few years ago, trading in the rock band thing for a more solitary musical experience. His second album as an émigré to a place well suited to the birthing of quiet, soul-stirring music is remarkably fully formed and satisfying; it exudes the kind of beauty found in the landscape of his new home. Low Roar is chilly and shimmering, mysterious and regal. The mingling of pump organ (used extra-brilliantly on the gorgeous “Nobody Loves Me Like You”) and strings, rusty-edged keyboards, and clattering, looping percussion evoke scenes of longing and introspection. There’s sorrow in the echoing piano notes and empty spaces, but the twinkling synths and fluttering guitars feel like tiny seeds of hope.

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