₩€$€₦ - Wall Of Pain
We've been on a roll with album reviews in the last couple of weeks, which is a good thing as it shows the variety of good quality releases coming out at the moment - and we still have the Agnes Obel release and some interesting EP's to come. And ₩€$€₦ are a lovely contrast to the soft Americana charm of Select Captain and the extraordinary absurdity of Svankropp. The Icelandic duo have released their album 'Wall of Pain' and it's a lovely subtle mix of mostly Electronic but also Acoustic sounds, and I have no doubt of its wide ranging appeal.
The duo comprise collaborators and friends Júlía Hermannsdóttir (who has played with the excellent Oyama) and LojiHöskuldsson (Sudden Weather Change) and they joined together in 2014 to produce an alternative sound to their indie rock influenced bands. Their reputation has continue to grow and with a successful Airwaves appearance in 2015 and with another one imminent, they have clearly established an appreciative following back home.
'Wall of Pain' opens with 'Stay Awake' an acoustic guitar, and a simple understated harmonised melody, and the subtle use of sounds and instruments sets the tone of an album which is stripped back and sparse. This throws most of the attention on to the vocals and those are delivered with a slightly dreamy and melancholy leaning, it is a really effective mix of sounds. 'Virgin Eyes' is the real highlight for me, I love the nonchalant pace of the song, the lilting tune and the blunt lyrics - 'I'm sorry to offend your virgin eyes, but no I don't really care'. 'The Low Road' has a hypnotic feel to it, and I really like the tranquil and hazy vocals in this this track. 'Beachboys' concludes the album, and it feels dark, with a sense of isolation - 'I'm going to go and bury myself in wet sand under the beach'.
This is an interesting, at times quirky album with enigmatic tunes, clever harmonies and an intelligent use of Electronic effects. The duo seem to believe that less is more, with every sound put to good use and it never feels overbearing in it's delivery. I probably have felt more of an emotional connection with 'Wall of Pain' than most electronic based albums, although seeing them live would really help even further with this connection. I would really recommend ₩€$€₦' and 'Wall of Pain', and definitely try and get to see them at Airwaves if you're lucky enough to be there. Nordic Music Review 8/10