Beautiful, spacious and covered with a mystical fog. With a bit psychedelic and impressive elements of dream-pop but still hold in frames of 90s alternative rock. Oyama, our one and only Icelandic shoe gaze band these days. I have enjoyed following their stage progress since early 2013 when they released a debut EP and heard them live so many times that it automatically raises the bar of my expectations.
On Thursday evening, April 30th, Oyama clambered to the stage at Húrra to warm up the crowd waiting with a beer in hands for Agent Fresco. The founder of this shoegazers’ gang, a guitarist and one of vocalists Úlfur Alexander Einarsson, was surrounded by his wonderful friends, beautiful minds, and together they presented material from the first full length album in the band´s career entitled Coolboy. Certainly, if someone asked me I would tell without even a second of hesitation that it´s the best album of 2014. Moreover, a man of genius – Pétur Ben – put his fingers on the pulse of Coolboy as a producer (and as we all know whatever he touches turns into gold).
But back to the point, Oyama rocks and has done that more or less since 2012. Consequently, they make skilfully a landscape of some kind of fragile beauty. They grow bigger with every performance still searching for new ways to express themselves and you can hear it in their expansive sound. It may be dreamy and foggy but is still dynamic and light at the same time. Lyrics float on puffy sonic clouds. Their shape is constantly changed by drums rhythm. It transforms as vocal lines are run by both the only girl in the band Júlía Hermannsdóttir and boys (hell yes, I always say it – let your bass player sing too). And you know what? Sooner or later the atmosphere of this skyscape they create will win you. If not, leave this job to guitar’s torrent of rain generated by Kári Einarsson or deep rumblings of the storm performed on bass by Bergur Anderson.
For this reason, listening to Oyama is a pure delight. As experienced musicians they keep the audience focused and interested in the show, simply letting listeners’ imagination do its own thing through such songs like Old Snow, Right Amount, Another Day, Lung Breathers, Siblings or an impressive closer of the show – Sweet Ride. Such a show has to be finished with a strong accent of some stage climbing on drum set with a guitar behind a player’s head and a lot of fuzzy noise. Perhaps it would be even more exciting with some spontaneous damages of mic stands while the musicians are lost somewhere between walls of sound but apparently it wasn´t on the offer for that night. Yes, it means they can go crazy. I still remember how Kári and Bergur engaged each other in an intense guitar fight in front of the stage at Reykjavík Music Mess…
As soon as the last tune of Oyama was gone I smiled with satisfy of getting what I really wanted that evening. A need of something intensive. Good job.
And once again thanks to great people of Reykjavík you can feel like you were there in the first row…
And yeah, I forgot, don’t eat the old snow.