So many new releases in the last couple of weeks, and I wanted to write a few words on the new Bang Gang album whilst it was fresh on my mind. I’m hoping that most people will be aware of Bang Gang, but for those that aren’t (and after all, we exist to spread the word on Nordic artists both old and new), theyre an Icelandic band based around singer songwriter/producer Barði Jóhannsson, who is the consistent member of the band throughout their 4 (including this one) albums. Some of my earliest Icelandic playlists included tracks by Bang Gang, a band I’ve always liked, and it feels such a huge privilege to be able to write about them now in the Nordic Music Review.
‘The Wolves are Whispering’ feels as if Bang Gang have never been away, but maybe that’s not entirely surprising, as the album is made up of songs written across the last 7 years. Whilst at times it is experimental, more use of Synths for example, it also still feels fairly simple in its approach – 10 beautifully written melodic pop songs, always with thoughtful expressive lyrics. After the brooding and atmospheric ‘The Sin is Near’ to open, we’re launched into a classic slightly dreamy indie pop song, ‘Out of Horizon’ which was released earlier this year as a single, and whilst we don’t promote Playlists, this will definitely end up on our end of year Playlist of favourite tracks. ‘My Special One’ is such a passionately written love song with a subtle string section – I genuinely feel as if I should carry it around with me everywhere I go, just in case I forget.
But the gorgeous songs continue, ‘A Letter Carved in Stone’ is subtle and will grow on you with each listen, whilst I love the final song ‘We will never Get Along’, with its thumping piano accompaniment and big conclusion. Still I’m no closer to understanding what genre this all fits in, if that really matters, and a debate on the bands Facebook page suggests that no-one else is quite sure either. But I love the description that one journalist gave of Bang Gang as being ‘Atmospheric Ghost Pop’, and I really cant beat that, it seems so appropriate.