From Iceland — Is Charm Something You Can Hoard?

Is Charm Something You Can Hoard?

Published June 2, 2014

Ft. Prins Pólo, Mar and VAR

Is Charm Something You Can Hoard?

Ft. Prins Pólo, Mar and VAR

We’ve had Prins Póló’s second LP, `Sorrí,’ on repeat since it came out on May 15. The prince is a prankster and master of gourmet lyrics and lo-fi song craft; the album is a gem of quirky sounds and off kilter rhymes. And we don’t just mean gourmet to be a metaphor; food is a running theme throughout the album, as it is on his first album, `Jukk.’

Some of these songs have been around for a while, the best of which is “Tipp Topp,” the story of a jealous ex-boyfriend set to a lo-fi drum machine bossa nova beat. But the new songs are also great. Sloppy sounding synthesizers, gently strummed guitars and worn out drum machines hang together by a strong sense of melody and narrative thrust. Particularly good is “Hamstra Sjarma” (“Hoarding Charm”), with sharp hiccupping synth stabs and a chorus that translates roughly to “Is charm something you can hoard?/Is charm something you can put into a Shawarma?”

The whole album is extremely playful but with a calculated homespun aesthetic that also shines through their music videos. We’re not sure if he hoards it, but Prins Póló has charm in abundance and `Sorrí’ is soaked in it.

Another charmer is 26-years-old musician Mar (AKA Grétar Mar Sigurðsson) who just released an EP called `Mellows.’ The album consists of four very different tracks within the electronic style of music. The highlights are the opening track “Twisted Figures,” with a long intro that builds into a modern bass drop, and ‘Involution,” a trippy track reminiscent of Animal Collective and revealing of Mar’s more mellow side.

Last but not least, the Sigur Rós inspired five-piece VAR have a brand new tune out called “Óyndi.” This beautiful ballad with exceptional singing by Myrra Rós Þrastardóttir will be a great soundtrack for charming bright nights in Iceland this summer.

Straumur has been active since last summer, with writers Óli Dóri and Davíð Roach documenting the local music scene and helping people discover new music at It is associated with the radio show Straumur on X977, which airs every Monday evening at 23:00.

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