From Iceland — Top 8 Albums

Top 8 Albums

Published June 11, 2004

Top 8 Albums

There´s some very Icelandic magic at work here and this album manages to be varied, surprising and clever. Megas had just gotten the first taste of punk and wrote the song Paradísarfuglinn (Bird of Paradise) where guitarist Valgeir Guðjónsson plays the most manic guitar solo I´ve heard on an Icelandic album. The song chronicles independence heroes, drug use, insanity, folk myths and the lives of dock workers. Some of the best moments are the upright bass at the beginning of the album, Megas´ wordless singing at the end of Sæmundur Fróði (Sæmundur the Wise), and Orfeus og Evrídís, one of the most beautiful love poems in existence. It is always said that Megas is just a wordsmith, but he´s just as good at composing music; just listen to the singing on the album. He sings Orfeus and Evrídís tenderly and beautifully, he screams out Paradísarfuglinn and has a different style on every track.
The chord arrangement in Útumholtoghólablús is both wired and jazzy, one of his best songs. Karl Sighvatsson shines on the Hammond and the band as a whole are outstanding.
When the album was remastered and re-released a few outtakes were included, which illustrate how much fun it must have been when all this talent came together in a studio in 1977. A very Icelandic album without equal in all of music history. Acoustic jazz, psychedelia, folk, punk and everything, listening to this is an adventure in itself. Megas is the last of the national poets; and a magican. (He´s also a godlike genius with a devilish grin -ed.)

1. Megas og Spilaverk Þjóðanna: Í bleikum náttkjólum
(In pink nightgowns)(see above)
2. Stuðmenn:Tívolí.
3. Langi Seli og Skuggarnir: Rottur og kettir. (Rats and Cats).
4. Mínus: Halldór Laxness.
5. Spilverk Þjóðanna: Sturla.
6. Björk: Vespertine.
7. Bubbi: Ísbjarnarblús.
8. Ske: Life, Death, Happiness and Stuff.

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