Words by Wim Van Hooste
The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 3)
Hausi (Skull) is the tenth album by the band Stafrænn Hákon, once the alter ego, brainchild and playground of guitarist Ólafur Josephsson. Now, it has become a full four-piece band including guitarist Lárus Sigurðsson, bassist Árni Þór Árnason, and drummer Róbert Már Runólfsson. The album contains nine tracks composed by the band members between August 2016 and March 2017.
The start of the album is reminiscent of 2016, when the band performed at Vinnslan in Tjarnarbíó and improvised 20 minutes of work based on melodies played on the harp by band member Lárus. Árni Þór plays the baritone bass in a tight way. The melodic layers of cello and trombone are incorporated in the sound, thanks to Þórður Hermannsson and Þröstur Sigurðsson, respectively.
Track 1, ‘Rafall’, pops open like a wild flower on an early sunny morning. The second song is anything but ‘Duft’ punk; it’s quite a seductive and melodic piece. The third track, ‘Straumur’ builds up more tension. Track 4, ‘Djákni’, is like piano-driven shoegaze chocolate sauce on top of ice cream. Njammi.‘Strimill’, the fifth track, is an entirely perfect soundscape. Track 6, ‘Pollur’, reminds me of the girly amiina, the early múm and the mid-career of Sigur Rós. Track 7, ‘7-4 Önd’, has a buzzing, brass band feel. Next, in the ninth song, ‘Hulsa’, we take a slow but steady walk on a trail into the woods. The final track, ‘Gesta’, is a tickling track featuring a ticking clock in the background.
Hausi maintains a feel that will not disappoint the rock fan. The dynamic sound of Stafrænn Hákon’s early albums is back, and is, in fact, the main feature of the band’s tenth longplayer. Put your headphones on for this Big Ten and Dr ROK’s Album of 2017!
Stafrænn Hákon – Hausi:
7. 7/4 Önd