Words by Wim Van Hooste
The review was originally printed in Reykjavík On Stage (Issue 1)
Franz Gunnarsson has a long history in the Icelandic music scene. He played and plays guitar in bands as different as In Memoriam, Quicksand Jesus, Moody Company, Ensími and Dr. Spock. Kaflaskil (Watershed) is his first side/solo project, made with the helping hands and vocal chords of male/female friends, like Kristófer Jensson, Tinna Marína Jónsdóttir, Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson (Todmobile since 2011), Erna Hrönn Ólafsdóttir , Stéfan Jakobsson, Bryndís Ásmundur, Magni Ásgeirsson (Á Móti Sól), and Dr. Spock buddy Guðfinnur Karlsson.
The 12-track album opens with a tune that throws you back to the Icelandic sound of the 90s: ‘Einn Dag Í Einu’ (‘One Day At The Time’). ‘Afkvæmi’ (‘Offspring’) has a fantastic drive and vibe, pretty fly for a white guy, indeed. The first duet and duel, a clash of the sexes, is ‘Hugarhvarf’ (‘Persuaded’). ‘Álfaprinsessan’ features a rocky guitar solo; the vocals remind me of a laid back Bubbi Morthens. Both ‘Aumingjasnót’ (‘Poverty Girl’) and ‘Um Seinan’ (‘Too Late’) aren’t my cup of tea: too laid back for my ears. ‘Segðu Frá’ (‘Tell’) features Eyþór Ingi on vocals, and brings Suede’s Brett Anderson in the picture. Björk had her ‘Anchor Song’ about her connection with Reykjavík’s harbour, Franz wrote ‘Lífsakkeri’ (‘Life Anchor’) for Tinna Marína. Everything counts in ‘101 + 200 = 110’. A deep voice announces a new day in ‘Nýr Dagur’. ‘Tifandi Lyf’ (‘Ticking Drugs’) is not exactly the Verve’s ‘The drugs don’t work’, but it comes quite close. A lullaby at the end of the day: ‘Svefnþula’ (‘Sleep Mantra’) is a great grande finale.
The first solo album by Franz Gunnarsson, Kaflaskil, is a blend of English rock music and mainstream poppy tunes like they were made in his homeland in the 90s. Maybe after all, this will turn out to be the turning point in Franz’ long career. Kaflaskil is a longplayer for Eurovision addicts and for people who like Selma, Stjörnin, Buttercup and Írafár.
Paunkholm – Kaflaskil:
01 Einn Dag Í Einu
06 Um Seinan
07 Segðu Frá
09 101 + 200 = 110
10 Nýr Dagur
11 Tifandi Lyf