Although I’ve tried very hard, I have to confess: I really don’t like Sigur Rós very much. In small doses, ok, by the problem is all their doses are pretty much exactly the same. They just do the same song, again, and again, and again, with Jónsi warbling the same gobbledygook over the top of it on infinite repeat. But they’re extremely hip, so everybody like them. Or pretends to like them. Actually I do like the Heima film, but probably because the visuals flesh things out a bit. Otherwise, I’m calling Emperor’s clothes.
So I was quite surprised, the other day, when I stumbled across Amiina, apparently originally Sigur Rós’ string section. Their 2010 release, “Puzzle”, is really rather good. Not too overly “Icelandic”, which is a good thing, but still with a touch of the exotic. Naturally, like all good Icelanders, they sing about coffee, but never mind. Not that Icelandic “coffee” actually merits singing about. Avoiding, yes. And their song “In the Sun” (which features coffee) does start off sounding an awful lot like Ólöf Arnalds’ “Vinkonur”. But nevertheless, “Puzzle” is a gem. Quiet without being ambient, inventive without being too clever, and tuneful - quite unlike their ex-employers.
Check out their website.