Welcome to Iceland Review Online's review section. Guest contributors and staff writers will provide you with a new review every Monday about a current art exhibition, a new Icelandic film, an album recently released by an Icelandic band or a new Icelandic novel likely to be published abroad. Please email any comments you might have to the web editor: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Review by Nanna Árnadóttir.
In a country of cutting edge artsy hipsters, the band Retro Stefson are the most hipstery of all the Icelandic hipsters. Case in point: this photograph posted on Tumblr:
Not that I hold that against them, after all, disliking hipsters is too mainstream.
Retro Stefson is a seven piece band of friends who started playing together back in 2006. They have a fun and adventurous approach to music that’s really infectious and sort of makes you want to skip work and dance on the sidewalk.
They are known for their upbeat alternative music with afro-pop influences but personally I think they should be known for having a girl on synthesizer. I don’t care what anyone says, that’s just bad ass.
Their anticipated third album, also called Retro Stefson (please don’t be confused), came out last month with ten new tracks and was celebrated with a number of album release concerts.
Overall the new album feels a lot more electronic than their previous work and on some tracks, like ‘Qween’ and ‘Time,’ there are these 80’s elements that make their music sound sort of like it’s both from the past and the future at once. Or like the music is a past interpretation of the future—follow me?
Then there are slower tracks, like ‘Solaris,’ which was one of the top streamed songs on Gogoyoko last month. But if you want something that is unmistakably Retro Stefson, you won’t be disappointed by the tracks ‘Glow’ and ‘She Said.’
Something I noticed, unlike on previous albums where lyrics were in a mix of Icelandic, Portuguese and English, all the tracks on this album are in English. I don’t know if this was done on purpose, if this is some intended departure from previous work, but my gut tells me it isn’t. For some reason I get the impression that Retro Stefson just do what feels right when they’re doing it.
Stand out tracks for me include ‘Time, ’Glow’ and ‘Solaris’—though frankly the whole album is decent.
I was so-so about ‘Julia’ but everyone I speak to cites it amongst their favorites and although I would usually just assume the whole world is wrong except me I suspect perhaps it’s just a matter of personal taste.
I give Retro Stefson 4 out of 5 stars. It made me smile on a Monday... I want you to let that sink in for a moment. We all need music good enough to make us smile on Mondays.
Nanna Árnadóttir – email@example.com
Nanna Árnadóttir is a writer by day, musical garbage disposal by night. All kinds of musical genres are consumed and processed in her mind. Although she is an avid hip-hop head she likes all music that is passionate, beautiful and honest. She has a special interest in the sonic fruits of her native country.