Kamarorghestar – “Ríða Á Vaðið”

OK, I don’t know squat about this band from Iceland other than that they were active in the 1980s and I somehow have two of their records in my collection.  The most recently added was 1988s Ríða Á Vaðið, which I got a nice price on from a Discogs seller.  It showed up in great condition, so I was pleased to add it to the ever widening shelf of Icelandic vinyl.

I might have a problem.  Hi.  My name’s Jeff.  I can’t stop buying weird Icelandic records from the 1980s.


Stylistically Kamarorghestar is kind of hard to pin down, as they kind of mix it up a bit across the album’s 10 tracks, including alternating between male and female vocal leads.  There are definitely some kind of trippy, slow post-punkish numbers, most notably the two side openers, “Norðurjúðar” and “Dans.”  These are songs that remind me more than a little of the stuff that Þeyr had been putting out a few years prior, though less intense, and make me think that they’d fit well into some classic weird 80s movies like Buckaroo Banzai or To Live And Die In LA.  But then they throw in some stuff that is basically dull adult contemporary, and even what sounds like a straight-up country/western tune in “Hleyptu Mér Inn” with the stereotypical country rhythms and vocals done in a down home quasi crooning style that’s a cross between Elvis and Chris Isaak.  Kamarorghestar keep you on your toes, that’s for sure.

Ríða Á Vaðið is a decent, if inconsistent, record, and I find myself primarily attracted to the darker tunes.  I have their 1981 LP Bísar Í Bana Stuði, and though it’s been a while since I gave it a spin I seem to remember it being pretty punk.  Ríða Á Vaðið has it’s punk moments in fits and starts, though probably only an EPs worth.  It’s still a good listen, though.

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