Published July 22, 2005
Reykjavík has been waiting for this sophomore release from Canadian-Icelandic rockers and producers Kímono. An early release from the record, “Aftermath,” was promising, with a blend of The Cars and German Progressive rock. The rest of the album is not as compelling, nor does Aftermath survive close examination. The production value is superb, the drumming and guitar work is often compelling, and the singer has a decent range. But the lyrics, in the category of dumb pretension, get draining when you understand them: “people see what people see make me see what I believe/ Pay attention wasting time breath in make the air sublime” or “I’m swimming back to shore because the dirigible sank, Roland gave me courage when said I was a tank.” The only vocal line that feels spot-on is a somewhat exhausted “you stay sober when I get drunk” at the end of an early track.
Half way through Arctic Death Ship, there is a break (hlé), during which we hear horns and guitars essentially tuning over loud drums. Remarkably enough, after this track, the band seems to find its groove. Around the middle, you get songs that are genuinely appealing, one in Spanish, and one, the best track on the album, without words at all.
The album has a value, if only as a document of the attempts of a group of talented musicians still searching for a voice.