Published October 23, 2014
What Kvöl’s new EP lacks in musicality is made up for in character. The Reykjavík-based post-punk band, which counts noted “Salvation Soldier” Þórir Georg as a member, released their hazy four-song debut this past July. The album is dark and New Wave in aesthetic, constituted by programmed 808-style drumbeats; groggy, doubled guitar lines; and indistinct lead vocals. The reverb is cavernous and plentiful, yet analogue in nature. The occasional synth pad makes an appearance, grounded by bass lines that sound as if they were played through a guitar into broken recording equipment.
Each of the EP’s four songs bear meaningful and interesting beginnings—especially “Norm,” whose opening bars stand as a modern take on The Drums Of The Nineteen-Eighties—evolving into endless compositions with wave upon wave of Sonic Youth-style guitarmageddon. Yes, the songs are long (each clocks in at well over four minutes), but in a seemingly deliberate way, rather than the result of carelessness or self-indulgence.
“I’m wandering around in a drunken haze,” grumbles Kvöl’s vocalist over the aforementioned “Norm.” This is a record whose noise speaks for itself.