Mammút - Kinder Versions album review

Iceland delivers drama and personality again with Mammút

Mammút - Kinder Versions album artwork

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Spooky-looking Reykjavik five-piece Mammút’s new album instantaneously hits you right between the eyes. It’s a gorgeous blast of highly dramatic art rock, alternating between darkness and bright light, overflowing with personality.

There are three women at the heart of Mammút – Icelandic for “mammoth” – and singer Katrina is the daughter of Birgir, who was in Björk’s pre-Sugarcubes post-punk band Kukl. If that makes some of us feel old, her voice is so electrifying it’ll take years off you – even when she’s singing such typically Icelandic, casually philosophical lyrics as: ‘I’m afraid to die… but it’s okay.’ She’s a one-woman army of me – and yes, Björk comparisons will be plentiful – but the band soar to the challenge of making music big enough to accommodate her. Every track has copious colour and serpentine structure, while never losing touch with the visceral. The Moon Will Never Turn On Me is both sly and flamboyant: ‘Oh the truth must be funnier than this,’ she sings. Breathe Into Me is deftly yearning; Pray For Air is desperate with desire. You can feel their emotional legitimacy. Worthy of wooing the UK just like The Sugarcubes did almost 30 years ago, Mammút are a volcanic force of nature.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.