Óðmenn sits not only on the cusp of two decades, but also on the cusp of two sounds. One is younger, grubbier and percussive, the other is more expansive and guitar-rooted.
Óðmenn was a short-lived, four-piece Icelandic rock band. Two brothers founded the group in 1966 and it broke up a few years later when one of them went to university to study law. The group played clubs in Reykjavik and recorded a single album in Copenhagen. This is that album. The music is a local take on British blues-rock, merging into psyche-rock. It sits not only on the cusp of two decades, but also on the cusp of two sounds, the first a younger, grubbier percussive style and the second a more expansive guitar-rooted sound. Musically, it's less incendiary than its foreign forebears. The liner notes explain that the Icelandic lyrics deal with socially divisive themes "like anti-war protest", but the one English-language song is an affably-worded bit of uplift that asks all of us, "both black and white," to "[live] together and not to fight." How often did they get to exercise this interracial sentiment in 1960s Reykjavik, I wonder. Óðmenn features solid playing and songwriting all the way through, ending with a 20-minute zooming jam of a climax.