They had me at “Alluu!”. With a burst of freshness not seen since the early days of spearmint gum, the five Greenlanders that comprise Nanook, hopped, skipped and jumped their way into local hearts at a packed auditorium in Reykjavik’s Nordic House last Tuesday.
Fronted by brothers Fredrik and Christian Elsne on guitars and vocals, the band, based in Nuuk, are currently touring Scandinavia with their debut album “Seqinitta Qinngorpaatit” (Our Sun is Shining on You). On this debut visit to Iceland, Nanook’s mix of old school rock-ability, heart warming lyrics, and genuine old fashioned charm, had the audience under their spell from the first bassy twang. From head bobbing rock/pop sing-alongs, to heavy bassed, almost Dick Dale-esque 70’s beats, to all out rock god guitar solos; Nanook provided a range of flavours had turned mild mannered toe tapping into a veritable foot stomp by the end of the night.
Greenlanders (very) young and old were out in force to support their new national hero’s, although the group of children sprawled out on cushions up front may have been more excited about staying up past their bedtime than with the music itself. The group have sold approximately 3,000 copies of their debut album in Greenland since it came out early 2010. It’s a fairly substantial claim if you think about it – how many new bands can boast that one in ten of the population has their album?
Nanook’s brand of guitar-based rock doesn’t set out to reinvent the wheel. It’s not über-cool and it doesn’t push major musical boundaries, but its not really trying to. There in lies the charm of this genuinely disarming band. It seems all they want to do is just get on stage, rock it out, and where possible invite their audience to co-rock it out with them, should they feel so inclined. What’s ironic however is that in doing so, Nanook’s refreshingly humble attitude towards their music and their audience does go some way towards re-inventing…something. Whatever it is they’ve got, they’ve got it in spades. After all, a hundred people leaving a gig with the goofiest smiles ever on their faces cant be all that bad.