Iceland: everybody talk about this amazing country nowadays. It became one of the most attractive place for a trip for many reasons: a thousands waterfalls, disruptive volcanos, fjords on the west and the east coast, Reykjavik Runtur and, last but not least, Icelandic Contemporary Music.
Too much probably has been said about Bjork or Sigur Ros, many are appreciating young artists like Olafur Arnalds or Of Monsters and Men; just a few instead in western europe, chat about GusGus, not a band but a musical collective born in the early nineties which reached the top of success thanks to a couple of albums that sounded very trip hop like and that used to blend different musical elements from punk to electronic, following the wave of underground culture at the end of last century.
The collective, which included also the half italian artist Emiliana Torrini at the beginning, rarely released an album with the same band composition through the years, but most importantly they switched completely their musical style with two albums: Attention (2002) and Forever (2007).
Both these Lps marked the transition to an house oriented musical approach. 2002’s hit “David” captured the attention of a whole new audience for the band.
But it’s almost a decade later that GusGus reach the peak of their carreer with 24/7 (2009) and Arabian Horse (2011), which will mark a kind of “new spring” for the band after the glories of Polydistortion (1997) . These albums, considered comprehensibly post house Lps by some critics, are probably among the best electrodance products of recent years. Arabian Horse can be considered a contemporary masterpiece in its genre.
GusGus infact found the way to release a couple of works in which, without betraying their love for the dancefloor, they could push the limits deeper, experimenting suggestive sounds and atmospheres, sometimes ethereal, sometimes dark, exploiting the power of their technical equipments to the maximum. Arabian Horse ouverture “Selfoss”, probably inspired by homonym waterfall, is a black ghost that transforms itself into a powerful and pure soul. “Arabian Horse”, “Hateful”, “Changes Come”, “Thin Ice” just to name a few tracks from that period, are examples of a perfect synchrony in between 4/4 time signature and “deeply inspired” sequencers and synths: a profound, high quality and digital depiction of Iceland’s landscapes and the shivers they give.
A couple of years have passed since their ninth studio album Mexico, released via Kompakt records as well as the two previously described. Now Reykjavik’s band, is back again with an 8 tracks LP called Lies Are More Flexible.
First thing to notice is that this time there’s only two of ’em at work: Biggi Veira and Daniel Agust. Through their record label Oroom, the duo gives us a taste of their talent taking revenge on Mexico’s stumble.
Lies Are More Flexible infact, is an album in which it’s easier to recall Attention and Forever happy atmospheres. 24/7 and Arabian Horse intriguing backgrounds are far away, but nonetheless LAMF is still definitely more convincing than Mexico.
Mexico not only came with the heavy inheritance of two stunning albums released before, but it also sounded a bit confused in its targeting (take for instance “Sustain”): the band seemed unable to understand if the right way was back to the dancefloor or still ongoing through the experimental path began with 24/7. Nonetheless also this album was able to leave the listener astonished in a couple of occasions with songs like “Airwaves” or “Not The First Time”.
This new album seems to be a more aware work: the band reconciliated to a purest dance style (“Don’t Know How To Love”, “Fireworks”, “Lifetime”) and without caring about finding the right equilibrium in between musical research and rhythm patterns, the album flows in a more spontaneous way. This obviously leads to a less sophisticated Lp, one that winks an eye to a more mainstream audience; but when the artist has the right temperament, good tracks comes naturally. That’s what happens with “No Manual”, “Featherlight” or “Fuel”.
LAMF flows perfectly from the beginning to the end and even if it sounds closer to an ordinary dancefloor product, “electronic intellectuals” will appreciate it for its genuinity. LAMF it’s way better than its former brother and still gives GusGus’ fans a perspective for an charming future in the field of dance music.
You can watch their live introduction to the new album at Iceland Airwaves below.