Frakkarnir – “1984”

Mike Pollock’s name seems to pop up all over the place in the Icelandic music scene during the 1980s.  He was a member of Utangarðsmenn, Bodies, and Das Kaptial, plus released a solo album called Take Me Back in 1981.  The singer/guitarist covered a lot of musical ground from punk to hard rock to folk.  Not bad for a kid born in California and who didn’t move to Iceland until the 1970s when he was already a young adult.  By 1984 he was ready to take on something new:  new wave.

As he does on Take Me Back, Pollock sings in English on 1984, making the album much more approachable for non-Icelandic speakers.  It’s a new wave record, but certainly one with other musical influences such as disco (“Boogie Man”) and some heavy doses of funk (“1984”).  The sound is a bit on the darker side of new wave, with a dive bar vibe, a feeling like you’re in a big, impersonal city on a cold rainy night and need to hunker down for a bit and have a shot and a smoke before going back outside.  It’s right there in the song titles – “New York,” “Berlin,” “Babylon,” “Armagedon,” [sic] and “1984” (about an Orwellian not-so-distant future).  Side B in particular captures a feeling of alienation that is difficult to escape.

Just because you’re paranoid,
That doesn’t mean that they’re not out to get you.
— “1984”

1984 is a solid new wave effort, every bit as good as the more well-known albums coming out at the time.  Definitely worth a listen.

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