Monday, 6 September 2010

For A Minor Reflection – Höldum Í Átt Að Óreiðu (Self Release)

I first came across For A Minor Reflection whilst they were supporting Sigur Rós on their 2008 tour; I was completely blown away by the Icelandic four piece’s live performance and immediately went and got a copy of their debut album ‘Reistu Þig Við, Sólin Er Komin Á Loft…’ This debut was impressive, but not a touch on what I had experienced when seeing them live. It was an hour long CD full of highs and lows, but also six tracks that became more and more predictable as you went through. Each song starting quietly, building up to a mass of noise by the eight or nine minute mark, and then getting quieter again to the end. So when looking at the tracklisting for their latest release, I was very happy to see that there are only three songs over six minutes out of the ten on the album. Could this mean a new, more concise For A Minor Reflection? 

In a word, yes. Right from the start it is clear that the band have grown up and are now writing much more mature and technically impressive material. There are moments of intense noise, moments of even more intense calm and many points that can be found somewhere in the middle. They are no longer predictable or monotonous, helped along by the fact that they haven’t stuck to their standard instrumentation of keyboards guitars and drums, instead deciding to add string sections throughout the album. It makes for some extremely engaging listening. Even in ‘Sjáumst Í Virginíu’ (a song that is over fourteen minutes in duration) there was a part of me that thought it would be back to the same old formula, but not at all. The track is full of changes of speed and volume, with no two minutes sounding the same. The album as a whole reminds me exactly why I was so impressed with them when first seeing them live. It manages to get across all of the intensity of their live show, without ever losing its pace. It is a huge step up from their debut, and an album that I hope at least all Sigur Rós fans will be able to appreciate. 9/10

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