Published January 7, 2017
Fufanu have come a long way since they dropped the Captain from their title, and even further since they started out as a minimal techno outfit some eight years ago. In the meantime, they’ve emerged as the heir to the throne of Singapore Sling, not only with their dark-tinted rock but also in their attitude and aesthetics. In a year where hip-hop, reggae and electronic dance music dominated the scene, a single guitar-based rock band managed to shine through and claim the track of the year.
A rock song is a song of the year because Fufanu don’t settle for a lazy chord progression and regular verse-chorus structure. Instead, they walk the less-travelled paths of guitar rock history on a sonic journey with a beginning, middle and an end—although not ever in the expected linear fashion. It starts with a scrambled hiccupping bass line and warm synth pads before the monster of a beat kicks in—motoric and driving, in the NEU! Krautrock way. Still not satisfied, they pile on guitar flourishes and electronics, adding layer upon layer of different elements that bounce off and into each other in a chaotic harmony.
Through it all, the ice-cold vocals run laps around the guitars while jumping over rhythmic hurdles. The track winds down whilst simultaneously upping the electronics and echo effects, experimenting with texture and structure alike, before upping everything again for the final spurt as they leave their competitors in the dust.
You can’t talk about this track without mentioning what’s also probably the best Icelandic music video of the year. All shot in one glorious take, it features athletes in an old school 80s-looking sports stadium, running laps, puting shot, and jumping high. The camera whirls through the field without cutting, and all the athletes look like model extras from a Wes Anderson movie, complete with Adidas headbands.
If Fufanu are athletes, their preferred sport is attitude, and this track has barrels of it. That their much-anticipated second LP will bear the same name as this monumental single is no surprise, and it has domestic and international press and audiences psyched. Having already warmed up the stage for Damon Albarn and Blur, their album is produced by Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and it’s being released by the prestigious label One Little Indian. It all points to one thing: Fufanu will be running victory laps in the year 2017.
Read about why they won and check out the rest of this year’s winners here!