Published January 13, 2006
Swedish-Icelandic reggae group Hjálmar’s self-titled sophomore release is its predecessor’s superior in every way. The songs have lost their careless let’s-all-get-high atmosphere and wound down to a steady, professional pace that bypasses all preconceptions of what a reggae album can be while remaining, in style at least, incredibly true to its genre. While this certainly won’t win them any awards for originality, it gives Hjálmar far more credibility than an Icelandic reggae act has any right to have. The crystal-clear but remarkably solid production is also noteworthy.
And yet this album could also be considered a failure of sorts, for at its heart, it is, in fact, a pop album. Steini croons with more heart and soul than the most flamboyant pop diva, and the album contains more catchy basslines and organ hooks than Max Martin could concoct in his wildest dreams.
But we won’t hold it against them. After all, a little pop never hurt anyone. Three beers for Hjálmar, the radio-friendliest reggae album in northern Europe!
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