A Collection of Icelandic Album Reviews by Wim Van Hooste

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reykjavik! "Locust Sounds"

Six piece rock band Reykjavík!—don’t forget the exclamation mark to avoid confusion with Iceland’s capital city—bring us what is without any doubt this year’s best album artwork.
And that’s not all! Finally, Reykjavík! made their grown-up, mature record—although their two previous ones, ‘Glacial Landscapes, Religion, Oppression & Alcohol’ (2006) and ‘THE BLOOD’ (2008), were not ugly at all.
But let’s call this the rise of Reykjavík! v2.0. Or Oxford’s Ride having a cosy, but loud, barbecue with their Icelandic friends  Gavin Portland and I Adapt—the boys hang in the backyard, while some family and friends (Mugison to name just one) provide extra meat and beer.
Great vocals, noisy guitars, banging drums: this is ‘Rokk í Reykjavík—The Revenge’. This is certainly one of the best records made in Iceland this year. Need I say more? Yes, I love the track titles: ‘INTERNET,’ ‘Hellbound Heart,’ and ‘Knifestorm.’ However, as an MD, my favourite track is certainly ‘Nurse, Please’.
The Reykjavík! cocktail this winter is a mixed mélange of soft and sweet alcohol, with a heavy crème fraiche topping. Not healthy, but delicious.

Ruddinn "I need a vacation"

Ruddinn is a one-piece band starring Bertel Ólafsson, who squeezes pop, rock, indie and electro into the blender at his home studio in Hafnarfjörður. The result is a strange cocktail of ‘80s electronica with guitars. On this third album, ‘I Need A Vacation,’ the monotonous voice of einzelgänger Ruddinn is accompanied by the distinct voice of Heiða Eiríks (known for her work with Unun and now Hellvar). With the exception of two songs that lack the female touch, the male and female voices balance well over the 11 track album. The album sounds like Unun attending an ‘80s Britpop party with The Human League, New Order and Pet Shop Boys, remixed by the GusGus of the ‘90s. My favourite songs on the record are ‘Too Distant For Us,’ ‘Cover The Distance’ and the title track, ‘I Need A Vacation.’ This is definitely Ruddinn’s best album so far.