If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might remember a post I wrote about a cassette I got by an Icelandic band called Norn. I wrote all this stuff about the singer, and it was jacked up, because not only was I wrong about who I thought was the singer, I was even wrong about the singer’s gender. I made some corrections, but left my errors up there for all to see as a monument to my own dumb-assery. Such is life in the vinyl lane.
Well, it turns out Norn are no longer Norn, but they are in fact now known as Börn, and in fact The Band Formerly Known As Norn has a new record out (released July 15), and yes it’s even on vinyl! As soon as I heard about it, I put in an order with my friends at their label, Paradísarborgarplötur, and they shipped a copy right out to me. From Iceland to my mailbox in Seattle in about a week. Not too shabby. So I get a second chance to review this band. I’ll try not to mess it up (as much) this time.
One thing is apparent right out of the gate on Börn – the sound is a lot more clear than it was on the tape I have. And I say that guessing that the tape was supposed to have that metallic-tinged, distant sound that sort of defined it. For this record Börn are more up front about their playing and vocals, which is great because they are a solid group of musicians. The guitar work is tight, especially on “Ef,” and the vocals are clear and edgy.
The overall vibe is on the post-punk side of things, at least to my ears, with a sort of somewhat dark and seemingly tuned down vibe, which gives it some weight and a legitimate mood. “Bara hrós” is probably the track most generally representative of Börn’s overall style, and its probably my favorite song on the record after about 3-4 listens. “Auðn” is the gloomiest number, and the one that reminds me the most of the Norn cassette, though even this piece of raw darkness sounds great.
At seven songs and about 21 minutes, it’s a pretty quick listen, and like their tape, Börn can be heard online if you just go HERE, so you have no excuse to not go give them a listen. Try something different. And if you like it, buy it! Better yet, treat yourself and order the vinyl before it’s all gone, because I suspect this one will be hard to find soon.