Music » Critics' Picks

Pétur Ben

9 p.m. Friday, February 8 and Saturday, February 9. Schlafly Tap Room, 2100 Locust Street.

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Though already a star in his homeland of Iceland, Pétur Ben is probably not doing anything quite as groundbreaking as some of his otherworldly counterparts (e.g., Sigur Rós, Björk). But the alt-rock influence of Ben's music — along with his ability to move seamlessly from blues-based guitar stomps to tender, lushly orchestrated ballads — shows that he probably deserves some attention in America. His musical versatility (more so than his vocal style) begs a comparison to the ultimate lonely troubadour of the '90s, Jeff Buckley. "I'll Be Here," from 2006's Wine For My Weakness, is the type of somber, romantic dirge that would be at home on Beck's Sea Change. But the song possesses old-world flare (thanks to a romantic, slow-waltz tempo and lonely French horn and trombone embellishments) and perfectly frames lyrics which find Ben promising to stand by his lover even after death.

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