Stafraenn Hakon are an Icelandic band, trading in one of their country’s prime exports: ambient-tinged post-rock. Eternal Horse is their ninth album, and took them four years: needless to say, they know precisely what they are about by now, and the record is produced just right. Out on the Darla label.
LP £16.99 DRL3081
Limited clear vinyl LP on Darla. Edition of 250 copies.
CD £13.49 DRL308
CD on Darla.
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- Eternal Horse by Stafraenn Hakon
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Having repped the Icelandic post-rock contingent for many years as that lesser known, kinda-ambient band, Stafraenn Hakon are now treating their ascendent music with a heavy dose of pop. ‘Eternal Horse’ has the serene, Autumnal sound of fellow countryfolk of Monsters and Men, produced with clean, widescreen precision that asks you to feel around for the setting. Implementing vocals to the fore more than ever -- while also utilising the distraught emotive guitar riffs of X&Y era Coldplay in their instrumentals -- this record is overt and okay with it.
This is probably the most pleasant post-rock album you’re gonna hear all year, and how nauseating, right? “Frigid Bag” has drums that shuffle like toes being dipped plaintively into serene water, while “Burning at Both Ends” uses math rock atmospherics through its squeaking fret play, but keeps a straightforward, marching beat and beautified guitar picking. It sounds kinda like if Toe were making a Snow Patrol album, with the intricacies shut out underneath a sighed vocal hook; “Sot”, meanwhile, traces a slowly unwinding guitar motif with the piano to match, making for a properly upset, very obvious ballad. This is gorgeous stuff, wavering between pantomimic and meditative, but sometimes I wish things would get gnarly, too.
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