Published July 22, 2010
With all the rock being recorded in Iceland, you’d think we’d have found one producer who can make it sound the way it should. The fact that FAMR apparently sought foreign talent for their production needs just makes it all the more ironic, like they themselves know that there isn’t a one of us who can do it. But it still didn’t quite save them.
I’m not saying it’s easy and I’m not saying I could do it—it is an art form—but for once, just for fucking once, I’d like to hear a properly EQ-d, well-sounding, dynamic Icelandic rock album that isn’t recorded by Ken Thomas. We always seem to end up with everything clustering around the middle, all the cymbals and the overdrive washing each other out in a discordant, static-y wave of improperly compressed noise.
HÍÁAÓ (an acronym roughly eight times as enthusiastic as the album it represents) suffers all the more for it, its predictable, dispassionately-performed major-chord reveries in desperate need of sonic innovation to support themselves, and the admittedly entertaining reverb/delay experimentation in the breakdowns and build-ups falling woefully short of what they promise upon reaching their climaxes.
The Verdict: There’s never a genius around when you need one.
By Sindri Eldon
I have a personal connection to this band. See, they were actually one of the first bands I got to know when I came to Iceland a few years ago. I was alone in the county, and knew no one in Iceland at the time. I started my visit by sitting at Kaffi Hljómalind to try and find a hostel room for the start. I was lonesome, insecure and far from all the people I love. Then, some music started playing: gentle, caressing, understanding. The waitress, German like me, told me that this was a local band called For A Minor Reflection.
To be honest, I think that the stuff she played there must have been early demos or something, because their album that I bought later (‘Reistu þig við, sólin er komin á loft’) was a big disappointment. The songs I heard at Hljómalind were severely beautiful post-rock, bearing dreamy melodies and an immense tension rising within; their first album was simply boring. This is one reason why I actually didn’t expect anything from their new one. But what a surprise! Here it is again: Joy, longing, sadness, happiness, all in the space of a single song—some good company for lonely times, and a personal delight for myself. Good job!
The Verdict: Very good instrumental post-rock record, the one these guys should have made years ago.
By Florian Zühlke