Sunday, August 24, 2008

For A Minor Reflection - Reistu pig vid, solin er komin a loft...

Artist: For A Minor Reflection
Album: Reistu pig vid, solin er komin a loft...
Label: Self Realease
Year: 2007

01. Kyrrd
02. Reistu pig Vid Solin Er Komin A Loft...
03. Fallegt Utsyni
04. Ohljod
05. Okyrrd
06. ...Solin Er Sest Og Dapurleikinn Tekinn Vid Bless

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For a Minor Reflection must sympathize with The Silent Ballet’s own editor-in-chief Jordan Volz. Though music critics have been saying that “Icelandic music is so beautiful it would make God cry if He had ears to hear it with and existed” for years, Volz proclaimed the fall of Iceland in his review of Múm’s Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy, commenting that the trademark Icelandic sound is really “all quite gimmicky, isn't it?” FAMR have looked elsewhere for their inspiration (at least from the musical end of the spectrum) to the relief of whiny, needy post-rock fanatics all over the world. It seems like the band has leapt from the proverbial frying pan and into the fire by escaping “gimmicky” Icelandic influences in favor of those that insidiously seep from the capital city of the second-largest state in the United States.

The album is a back-breaking hour’s worth of crescendo rock, opening with a nice introduction and then promptly forgetting that short “transitional” tracks are good for keeping an album flowing smoothly. Instead, they throw together five tracks that hover around the ten-minute mark, offering nothing in the way of transition but the resolution of the first song into the build-up of the next. The static nature of the album is not helped by the fact that all the songs are built using virtually the same structure. I don’t need to even describe it, honestly - any astute reader of this review will be able to identify the general crescendo rock song structure in their sleep.

The title track, “Reistu pig vid, Solin er Komin a Loft…” is the first of the long tracks on the album, and is so clumsy that it should have been left off the album altogether. If you’re going to play the kind of game FAMR are trying to, you’ve got to be an absolute master to get anywhere, and you definitely can’t use a track like this to introduce your sound to your listener. The transitions and build-ups are sloppy (around the 4:30 mark I visibly wince every time) and the climax is not worth the pain of the rest of the track, leaving the listener worried about what else is in store. After all, if they characterized their entire album by this track, what reason is there to believe that it should get better?

The next two tracks pick up a bit, at least being played competently, if unimaginatively. “Okyrrd” opens generically once more, with plodding bass and guitar hidden behind a screen of reverb. It also pulls the ‘introduce one instrument after another to sound like development’ trick that has been played so many times in the past. But around the four minute mark, after the false climax, something incredible happens: I start enjoying myself. At first, it’s nothing but pedal noodling on one guitar, but it is so unexpected that it sucks me in, then the pounding, deep drumming and faster, darker bass (eventually distorted) keep me hooked. It creates a darkness, a feeling that for the first time actually keeps the seasoned listener interested, and by the time the climax shows up, you’re cast along with it. “…Solin Er Sest Og Dapurleikin Tekinn Vid (Bless)” builds off of this momentum. Though it heralds a return to the more mournful, emotive theme that apparently every crescendo rock band ever wants to portray, it is done with such power and honesty that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Reistu pig vid, Solin er Komin a Loft… is far too long for its own good, and shows the poor grasp of album construction and track selection that young bands are to be expected to make. Some crisp, knowledgeable editing could have done the album a world of good, as there is a raw honesty that I admire in the band’s work which is only inevitably downplayed due the frustrating nature of the CD. If FAMR analyze the work of their peers and channel their exuberance into new territories, then perhaps they will be the ones to bring Iceland’s sound back into the hearts and minds of pretentious critics like myself.-by Zach Mills(

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to say you are wrong.
They are by no means the best band around and they definately have areas to improve on, but I have no doubt they will. I saw them last night at alexandra palace and they absolutley blew me away. When i got home I listened to the album on their myspace. it was great but it wasn't nearly as good as it was live. Their performance was outstanding, the songs well structured and flowing well, they had a great variation of rythms and textures making it move fast and furiously. Very energetic band with great emotion and drive.
I have no doubt they will make it big.