We first encountered Hórmónar at Iceland Airwaves in 2016. They were fresh off their win at Músíktilraunir, Iceland’s annual “Battle of the Bands”, a competition that has launched some pretty decent careers over the last decade or so. We were in a small club and this was one of their first live performances. You could tell that they were a bit nervous, but also see that they were having a lot of fun. We enjoyed their hard rock stylings and vowed to keep tabs on them.
Fast forward one year later and nervousness and swinging hair were gone, replaced by a heavy dose of swagger and L7-like intensity. Gone too was that hard rock sound, replaced by something that was both more punk and more metal at the same time. The photographic evidence is below. I’ll let you make the call (top – 2016; bottom – 2017):
The band’s debut was a four-song self-titled EP in 2016, which they followed with a full-length in August of this year. The 11-song Nanananabúbú includes the four tracks from the original EP, but I believe all four were completely re-recorded for their latest effort. The entire album has an insistent quality to it, a sort of underlying anxiety like a band that has so much they want to play for you but they’re afraid if they don’t get it out there quickly they might somehow lose the whole thing, like trying to hold onto a fistful of sand and watching as it runs through your fingers no matter how hard you try to keep a grip on it. Highlights include the alternating passion and gloom of “Költ”, the stripped-down rocker “Kynsvelt”, and the oddly playful “Glussi”.
Nanananabúbú was released on CD as a limited edition of 100, but I haven’t seen that offered for sale anywhere so my guess is they’re long since sold out. But have no fear, because you can still get the album via digital download from the Hórmónar Bandcamp page HERE. While that is my format of last resort, I still broke down and purchased a digital copy because that’s how good it is.