Amiina: puzzle - The Reykjavik Grapevine

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Amiina: puzzle


Published October 4, 2010

Amiina venture into new musical horizons with ‘puzzle’, their second full-length album. The male infusion of Magnús Tryggvason Elíassen on drums and electronic artist Kippi Kaninus brings a notably bigger, gutsier sound, progressing from the lighter, string based arrangements many might be familiar with from their previous work, as well as their collaborations with Sigur Rós.
The albums’ fusion of drums, electronic compositions and subtle strings makes for a stunningly good effect. The opening track ‘ásinn’, perhaps one of the best, combines fresh electronic beats with an almost oriental accordion riff, in a blend that excites and surprises in equal measure. It’s one of those tinglers that get the hair standing on the back of the neck. On ‘over and again’, delicate vocals and strings are cleverly offset with a wellbalanced drumbeat, similarly on ‘púsl’. Amiina manage to maintain this momentum and, enjoyably darker, atmosphere for much of the album, particularly on the track ‘sicsak’.
However, just at the mid-way point when its got you right in the palm of its hands and you’re just dying to know what happens next, the album pulls back into more familiar territory, with a notable increase in the use of twinkly glockenspiellike bells and saws. A bit of a downer after the previous highs, it’s almost like they got a bit scared of how expansive it sounded and pulled back into their comfort zone. This feeling peaks at ‘mambó’, which with its electronic drone, repetitive tambourine and lackadaisical ‘la-lalaaing’ makes for a boring track and the albums low point. Overall though, Amiina have dipped their toes into a really fresh sound with ‘puzzle’, and when they just let go and really commit to that transition it works incredibly well.


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