1860 photo by: Jakob Pálmi Pálmason

1860 shelters me from daylight

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Brace yourself, winter is coming so we need cheerful music! That reminded me the way how my adventure with a merry folk band called 1860 started. Imagine that yesterday was an epic blizzard – even Strætó got totally stuck, seriously – and before that, as a beginner, you thought people were joking about this crazy wind in Iceland. It had been such a beautiful weather for the last 2 weeks, right? Oh, how naive I was… Such surprising conditions outside didn’t really convince you to go out but your friend did that. What can change your mind faster and in more fabulous way than music recommendation from your lovely friends that know Icelandic music scene like the back of their hand? So here’s rule no. 1: if your Icelandic friend that is involved into the local music scene tells you to check out some band, just do it! He or she knows probably much better why that artist is worth to be seen live.

I set my foot for the first time in one of those epic venues of Reykjavík. Faktorý. Rest in peace, dear Faktorý. It’s also the first place that was kind of brutally taken away from me just because more hotels downtown means obviously more happiness, I guess, but this sad story is not for today (although one day I will be so grumpy and tell you what eats me in this town). Anyway, 1860 went on stage and painted on my face a blissful smile of satisfaction. I may not believe in love at first sight but at first hearing – I do. It had been a long long time since I saw the last time someone playing electric mandolin. Merging the world of folk, pop and indie rock, this 5-piece band has carved out its own unique earworm-infested sound with sweet vocal harmonies and such catchy songs with choruses that just beg you to hum them or whistle again and again. The guys captivate the audience with their full sound, mezmerizing warmth and beautiful folk-rock so nothing weird they are sometimes called Fleet Foxes of Iceland. I felt relieved.

I adore the way 1860 is on stage. So joyful, chatty, charming, out-going, positive and with sense of humor but still intimate. Plus of course, they have been spreading wonderful and endearing indie pop tunes since 2010 on a solid foundation of The Telepathetics, an alt-rock band that guitarist Óttar Birgisson and vocalist Hlynur Júni Hallgrímsson had taken active part in. So The Telepathetics joined forces with Mammút (Andri Bjartur Jakobsson, a drummer) and Coral (Gunnar Jónsson, a guitarist) and here we have 1860 in full glory.

There is a chance for a third album by 1860 since the band released in April a new song entitled Closed eyes (until now they released Sagan in 2011 and Artificial Daylight in 2013)! The new song let us hear that band’s folk sound started an affair with synths and shows from a different angle (those folk-inspired roots…) a talent of the authors. So far, Closed eyes was on air only in Icelandic and Faroes radio, ah lucky we. But soon we can expect also a new video. Honestly, I can’t wait! And you know what? They haven’t been touring abroad yet. It’s high time to change it, don’t you think?

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Stína has followed her passion to Icelandic music as a music journalist since 2010. She joined then a writing team of Muzyka Islandzka - a Polish website dedicated to Icelandic music. Spreading her wings, Stína started her adventure with Icelandic language and moved to Reykjavík where she studied the language at the university. She also takes an active part in life of the local music scene. Since 2014 Stína had run a music blog that was transformed in 2017 into a printed magazine on Icelandic music.

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