Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson: ‘Iguana Bird’ review

What I Know:
So, obviously, we all know who Scarlett Johansson – the actress – is but most, I imagine, will be less familiar with her as a musician. For the uninitiated, Ms. Johansson – the musician – is awesome. I first became aware of her when she released an album of mainly Tom Waits covers, Anywhere I Lay My Head in 2008 and was immediately surprised and delighted by the depth and soulfulness of her voice. I mean it when I say that her vocal performance on that album is one of the most unique and alluring of any female vocalist that comes quickly to mind.

In 2009, she teamed up with Pete Yorn for the Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot-inspired album Break Up. The production (and, accordingly, the vocal timbre) changed slightly, but tracks like Relator showed her range and adaptability and their joint song-writing prowess.

This week, they returned with an EP, Apart, from which Iguana Bird comes.

What I Like:
Have you ever wondered what the emotion love would sound like. It sounds like a weird question but it’s the sort of thing I imagine artists ask themselves quite a lot. For example, if you want to write a song about anger, we all have a pretty good idea what that song would sound like because we all have a pretty good idea what anger sounds like (read this week’s review of Uncomfortable by Halestorm for more on that!)

But ask most people what love sounds like and you might get some very different views. Ask those berks on Love Island and they’ll probably tell you its like love4eva by LOONA yyxy; all synths, twinkly lights and Koreans in schoolgirl outfits.

Which is not terrible (I’m actually fast becoming a fan of the K-Pop genre myself) but that’s not what love sounds like to me. I’m fortunate to be blessed with a lot of love in my life – from my family, my wife, my daughter and, yes, even some of my blokey mates (not the ugly, farty ones, though) – and in each case, this is what that love sounds like to me.

Iguana Bird (god knows why they called it that) is a hazy, heavenly record that lifts you up and carries you away on its gorgeous “La, la, la, la, love you” refrain. The two vocalists’ voices merge together so beautifully it’s about as close as a male and female duo can get to the syrupy mellifluousness often generated by double-tracking.

Sure, the lyrics are tinged with a certain sadness (“Do you like how you’re spending your time? / Do you like how you’re living your life away from me?”) but, taken as a whole, this song just makes me feel deeply content… a lot like love, really.


Scarlett Johansson: Anywhere I Lay My Hat
Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson: Relator
Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot: Bonnie and Clyde


The Overview
Recommended Music | 8th June 2018

The ‘Military Coup’
Halestorm: Uncomfortable

The ‘Peaceful Protest’
Umi Copper: Requiem

‘Guerilla Warfare’
Oneohtrix Point Never: Warning

The ‘Quiet Riot’
Ben Howard: Nica Libres at Dusk