It’s hard to explain to outsiders what a band like Amiina stands for, what their music suggests and how it affects the listener. For the easily distracted, they’re just a bunch of girls — wrong, there are also two guys as stable contributors to the band now — making cutely bizarre noises with their instruments. Their personal appearance and the imagery which they have chosen as visual counterpart for their sounds make them irresistibly timeless. You could totally imagine them in a yellowed picture from a century ago, all gathered in the same room, spending their time together, composing and playing songs to chase the long winter nights away. But Amiina are not a phenomenon of the past; they’re a vital manifestation of what Icelandic music of today is: a many-colored kaleidoscope that never gives way to extremes.
In their latest album, Puzzle, Amiina found a way to proceed along the path already taken, adding more twists than in their past works. Nevertheless, Puzzle is a worthy little gem for a mind at ease. Like all Amiina’s works, Puzzle is a comforting and comfortable album, although maybe a little braver than their previous efforts in the fact it adds to the timelessness that is trademark of the band’s music many à la mode touches, with defined electronic textures and a stronger vocal presence.
Amiina are quintessential not only of Iceland’s musical panorama of today, the one so bewitching for music lovers around the world that are tired both of the outbursts of a sterile industry that only aims at selling vulgarly painted totems on large scale and also of the many indie movements that reinvent themselves constantly without actual knowledge of music and its principles; Amiina is also exemplary of the Icelandic innate artistic spirit. A spirit not everybody might get or like perhaps, but whose greatness undoubtedly resides in the fact it tries to be a way to represent the preciousness of life and beautify it from within.
I’m sorry for those who were not at Faktorý Bar to listen to Amiina yesterday night. The place was properly packed. I could barely move myself — I spent part of the show clinging to the amps, on stage, unable to come down. This is the main reason I’m still partly deaf today. Opening act for the show was a capital Borko, which I finally managed to enjoy in a live performance. Borko is another example of how Iceland’s musicians can reach an idiosyncratic excellence without making it look too conspicuous. In this, he has many points in common with Amiina.
Faktorý Bar has the weird peculiarity of turning into a tropical-like environment when it hosts too many people at the same time. The atmosphere was influenced in part by the venue, and it was in fact particularly warm and informal. I took a few photos, but I’m not too happy about the outcome. Anyway, together with the awful iPhone video I am attaching to this entry, I hope they’ll help you have at least a vague idea of how special the occasion was.
Amiina also presented a beautiful new song during yesterday’s gig, but you’ll have to forgive me because the title escapes me right now — I’m not reliable as a gig reviewer, I’m afraid. Yesterday’s show, Amiina’s members had stated before, will be the last for a long time for the band in its current incarnation. Let’s hope for not too long. PS: In the meantime, you can still visit Amiina’s website, join their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter for news and updates.