One of my “bigger” acquisitions at this years Airwaves was the 1980 LP debut by Icelandic punks Fræbbblarnir, Viltu Nammi Væna? I’d passed on it once before due to the price, but this copy was of a bit lesser condition, or at least the jacket was, so it was more appealing. The vinyl was in great shape, though, so I pulled the trigger on it.
Fræbbblarnir are one of those important bands in Icelandic music, one of the handful of pivotal groups that formed in the late 70s/early 80s and embraced punk/new wave. Like many of their peers, Fræbbblarnir too appeared in Rokk Í Reykjavík and on the film soundtrack, a work that may be the most definitive representation of any music scene anywhere.
Viltu Nammi Væna? isn’t straight forward, old school punk. It embraces some of the more experimental directions music was headed with new wave/no wave, but kept it within a punk framework. Songs like “Look Out” offer a blend of punk rock and something outside of it, a sort of weirdness for the sake of being weird, like how kids sometimes act – we’re just doing this because we can do it and we feel like it, not because it’s necessarily part of any grand plan. Others like “Dauði” feature drumming that feels like a military march on speed and vocals that reminiscent of old 1930s newsreels of dictators shouting at huge crowds. It’s a vocal style that appears on a number of songs, including tracks like “Fífl” where it doesn’t seem to fit with the relaxed bass driven structure.
One of the most unusual songs is undoubtedly the punk cover of the Beach Boys’ “Then I Kissed Her,” which in turn, of course, is a modified cover of “Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals. Not at all what I was expecting, but a cool version nonetheless.
All in all an enjoyable record. It’s held up pretty well and still sounds good to my ears.