Reykjavik!: The Blood

[18 August 2009]

By Matthew Fiander

PopMatters Associate Music Editor

Reykjavik! combine the piss and vinegar of garage rock with the ambition of arena rock, and it can make for a volatile sound. Go no further than the title track on their new album, The Blood, to know how close they can push it to chaos and still absolutely rock. But after that great opener, the rest of the record doesn’t hold together as well. A glut of shouting voices overwhelm the surf rock of “Kate Bush”. And while the relatively clear verses on “Acid Rain” are catchy, the rest of the song is overcrowded by grinding guitars. The best moments in the album are on songs like “Repticon” that use the admittedly overused loud-quiet-loud formula, but it works. It works because at its most raucous, the song still rests on melody and always has at least a shred of restraint. The rest of the record feels too untethered and overthought. Which is too bad, because The Blood is certainly an ambitious record. It just falls prey to excess too often. Just because Reykjavik! can make a huge racket, it doesn’t mean they always should.

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