From Iceland — Suð’s Indie Noise: Track By Track

Suð’s Indie Noise: Track By Track

Published April 13, 2022

Suð’s Indie Noise: Track By Track
Valur Grettisson
Photo by
Finnbogi Óskar Magnússon

Suð is an established Icelandic indie band seemingly on a mission to bring the guitar party back. They released their first album in 1999 and have been active since then. The Grapevine caught up with Suð to discuss their latest album, ‘Save the Swimmers.’ Here’s what they had to say about it, track by track:

Save the Swimmers is the new full-length album by the eternal Icelandic indie rock band Suð. It is actually the trio’s 4th album and the 2nd in 3 years. So screw you COVID!

The album is a 10 track masterpiece, recorded at the legendary studio Hljóðriti in May 2021 and then completed the following summer at various locations in the greater Reykjavik area. The sound is heavily influenced by the American alternative and lo-fi guitar bands of the Nineties, which incidentally were the formative soundscape years of the 3 members Helgi singer/guitarist, Kjartan bassist/keyboards (fun fact, they are twins) and Magnús on drums.

So what is the low down on the songs on Save the Swimmers, the guitar album that worships at the altar of indie rock?

Save the Swimmers

Swim or sink, that is the question.

Breathing is like swimming but unlike swimming, breathing is something you tend to do automatically. This song deals with the fact that swimmers are in a very precarious position, and we should be concerned for their well-being. The song is a very caring ‘quiet/load’ indie guitar song, that is until the protagonist gets up on his high horse and claims that he ‘does not need the questions to your answers since he has made them all up on his own. What a prick!

The classical traditionalist in you, dear reader, will approve of the fact the first song on the album Save the Swimmers is the song Save the Swimmers and it starts with the words ‘Save the swimmers’. Dynamite!

Made

Made is an upbeat punky affair. Very straightforward, groovy and loud.

At one point we thought this song’s lyrics were about the mafia, because there you actually ‘get made’ into a special group – that most people don’t like that much. That is at least what popular culture has taught us. But we are no experts, we have just watched the Godfather, the Sopranos and erm… Gotti with John Travolta.

But finally, we settled on it being about how AI and the machines will take over at the ‘singularity’ moment, leaving us feeling pretty red-faced about it. Pretty bleak stuff, but punk won’t care! Deal with it.

Dressed up in cold.

Dressed up in cold. Does that sentence even make sense to an English native speaker? From the tongue of a native Icelandic speaker, it sounded cool and you know… most people that speak English today are not native speakers. Yes, we non-native speakers have taken English over, speaking and writing it as blatantly badly as we like!

Anyways, Dressed up in cold is an indie song with cool picky guitar and lyrics about lying, dying, and trying. Pretty solid rhymes there. And it is also about dinosaurs and war until it switches gear and finishes on a grand finale where the singer states that he will not accept a kickback of any kind, maybe a reference to the mafia angle of Made?

Freak out

Every so often you should freak out. It is healthy and cleansing. Moderation is best used in moderation. That is the band’s motto and written on its insignia and blazer jacket crest, which you will soon be able to order from our merch store. The Latin translation on the crest reads: moderatio est optimum moderatius. So, freak out to this indie banger!

Clothes

Clothes. Do we really need them? Most people would reluctantly say – yes?

But are they any good for us? For our fragile human soul, mind and spirit – and are we perhaps altogether better off without them?
Streakers would concur, and the protagonist in this song certainly thinks so. But maybe he just doesn’t have any cool clothes – or is a streaker.

And what’s more. Is it fair to only devote 1 minute and 30 seconds of punk bedlam to this important subject? No!

Still, we will let you in on a well-hidden secret. This is by far the oldest song on the album. First performed on the black and white tiles of the original Gaukur á Stöng (Cuckoo on a stick) at the turn of the Century.

Yes, the three guys in the band are ancient but they have aged well, particularly thanks to all the plastic surgery and generous amount of Botox applied to the upper lip region, below the eyes and the forehead. But don’t they say that the hands will always tell the truth about your age? More Botox then!

Whoo

Whoo! An expression of sudden excitement, astonishment, or relief.

Picture yourself in a car that is driving on an endless highway somewhere in a desert in the US of A.

Then picture yourself dealing with the theory of parallel universes. Everything that does not happen here on earth will happen or has happened in another universe – somewhere in the multiverse (no, not in Zuck’s metaverse).

What are the Icelandic classics that just stay on the market despite the ever changing world around them? We made a discount box with Icelandic products that have survived through the decades! Take a look!

We give you that it is a very convenient catch-all theory, but it is also handy, because if you fuck up in this life, there is always another one where you didn’t. So, don’t worry – be happy.

It is our most sincere hope that this song will make you go whoo. And please drive safely in the desert.

Floor

Have you ever been on the floor physically and emotionally to then find out that people don’t want you to ‘get up’?
Have you ever been out the door and experienced the exact same thing?

This very short song is simply about that. And due to its shortness, it offers no fixes or remedies. Only the acceptance that you might feel something you don’t recall from before and you might feel like you don’t belong.

Pretty sad, but nevertheless dressed up (not in cold) as a raunchy melodic rock jingle. So, take a listen. It will only take a little over a minute off your precious time. What do you mean? You don’t even have a minute to spare?!?

Hey you

Industry trick #232 for making it on Spotify and becoming Daniel Ek(!) rich:

Action: Name your song the exact name of another popular song on Spotify and upload it.

Result: People searching for a said song on Spotify will only read the name of the song, not the band, listen to your song, thus increasing plays exponentially.
A 0.000001 cent of many euros can still make you rich right? – right?

This is exactly what we tried to do with Hey you, which has the same name as Pink Floyd’s well known melodramatic song, Hey you.

The plan has not worked yet, but we are playing the long game here.

A kind friend also pointed out that we should have named the song ‘Bad Habits’ after the gigantic hit by the fun-loving Ed Sheeran, and one of the most played songs on Spotify in 2021.

Mind you, this friend’s suggestion came after our album was released.

Don’t wait up for me

Don’t wait up for me has a catchy melody in bed with loads of guitars.

The lyrics don’t make any sense.
“Don’t wait up for me. I just need to sleep. “
So… you are waiting up for someone that is sleeping?

A better explanation. Lyrics are not supposed to make sense. The writer of the lyrics is not supposed to explain them to the recipient of the art. Art should be consumed and not explained. The recipient of the art should have the freedom to interpret it without any biases suggested by its misguided creators.

Why are we doing this track by track thing again? It’s fun. We hope you like it.

Seasons

This song is the fruition of our lifelong dream to write a shoe-gaze song. It has big guitars and dreamy vocals.

It is also the longest song on the album, but also one of the best. Happy days.

The lyrics deal with how we can simply pack it in if we let people rule – who are always right – a lot.

Yes, people who are very smart and have never been wrong – are pretty dangerous people.

But chin up. Good and self-doubting people will prevail!

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