June 23, 2024

Samaris – Black Lights is a cool slice of Scandi-pop

ONE LITTLE INDIAN         June 10th 2016

Those Icelandic people, eh? Not content with kicking England out of the European Cup, they persist in ultra-cool pop music. Samaris somehow define chill-out with a side-order of trip-hop / intelligent drum & bass. First off, there’s the icy-cool vocal lines, then there’s the accent reminding us of Bjork, then there are the short and simple pop melodies.

They’re not daft, the first single from the album leads off the set and is immediately followed by the new single, the title track. This trio combines programmed electronics, processed clarinet and breathy vocals, drawing in their different interests, from techno to the study of sound. This album is a change from the last, which drew lyrically from old Icelandic poems; this is in English. I still advise letting it wash over you, with lyrical phrases catching in your ear as colour. Likewise the little dubby echos, the washing electronica and the hopping and tripping beats. You’d be right to do so – the compositions were assembled in Berlin with gibberish vocals, later peeled off and replaced with snatches of floating English. Interestingly, the band took the basic tracks away to work on separately, before meeting again in Iceland to put the album together.  It shouldn’t work, but it does.

A properly European album, the set is set to be this year’s go-to chill out album and one to marvel at on headphones as the streets flash by on your bus to work. An urban soundtrack.

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