Confessions is the debut recording of a collaboration between Faroese singer/songwriter Teitur (Teitur Lassen) and American composer Nico Muhly that dates back to 2009 when Muhly was composer-in-residence at the Netherlands' Muziekgebouw Frits Philips.
The project was inspired by the early days of social networking and the phenomenon of people uploading mundane, sometimes uniquely self-revealing home videos, specifically to YouTube.
Originally conceived as a shorter set for multimedia live performance, it grew to 14 songs that they recorded with the Holland Baroque ensemble.
Teitur sings these intimate glimpses into the lives and minds of everyday people, which include topics like "I Smoke" and "Printer in the Morning" ("I love the smell of my printer in the morning").
As often happens when one takes a closer look at the commonplace, the resulting songs are alternately humorous, poetic, and touching.
The opening track has the speaker dismissing Jane Fonda and electricity in a failed attempt to "Describe You." ("I was trying to describe you to someone/You don't look like anyone I've seen before.") Like most of the album, it plays like intimate, contemporary chamber pop under Muhly's driving arrangements, but with the unusual accompaniment of Baroque-period strings, harpsichord, recorder, and lute.
A few of the more dramatic tracks, like "Her First Confession" and the episodic "Cat Rescue," blur the lines between composition and pop song.
The latter has words of remorse underscored by elongated string phrasing, while livelier instrumental passages of plucked strings and bouncy lute and recorder convey action.
The album also includes two brief instrumentals, "Sick of Fish" and "Dog and Frog." On the simpler end of the spectrum is "If You Wait a Little Longer," which features just lute and vocals as Teitur philosophizes "If you wait a little longer than you normally would the most amazing thing may appear." (Though, "Most likely nothing will happen.") Later, "Don't I Know You from Somewhere" is a tuneful highlight that imagines the perspective of a sushi roll.