If I had to pick one American band that I feel most accurately captures the vibe of the Icelandic music scene with it’s sound, that would be Dan Dixon’s PLS PLS (pronounced Please Please).
Following 2012s EP, named EP EP, Dixon released the first full-length PLS PLS album the following you, which he of course named LP LP. Its 10 songs defy easy categorization – there are basic pop and rock elements, but also synths, some new wave, indie…. the sound is everywhere, and it’s hard to contain with a simple genre label. PLS PLS is more or less a Dixon solo project, though he had help from other musicians on various parts of different songs (I believe drummer Derek Murphy is the only person besides Dixon to play on every song). So it’s kind of a solo project… but one that allows for some other contributors to influence the sound a bit.
The reasons I think LP LP sounds Icelandic are that it’s very musically rich, but it often goes off in some unexpected directions – you can sense the influences in it without them being overt (other than the intro to “Exes,” which sounds a ton like an Iggy Pop song that I can’t quite place… but that’s only for 15 seconds or so). There’s a definitely an 80s vibe here, but a very updated one. Maybe it’s prog wave. I don’t know.
It’s kind of hard to play favorites, though I am partial to “WCA” (which stands for “Whiskey, Cocaine, Adderall”… which sounds like a bad idea) and “Circles.” The B side opens with “Fast As Light,” which is a great heavy synth pop number that reminds me a bit of the previously reviewed and awfully obscure Lou Champagne System. I’ve been really enjoying a lot of the 80s synth stuff lately, so it makes sense that the more modern but still familiar sound of PLS PLS would appeal to me. A very pleasant surprise, and one I definitely recommend.