It would seem that mammoths were extinct long time ago. I wouldn’t be so sure. Perhaps they are still alive in Iceland? At least metaphorically. The title of Icelandic mammoth can be certainly given to one of the young Icelandic bands. But by young I mean age, not the experience on stage. So, let me introduce you Mammút.
They are young. The band members are twenty-some. They are also experienced and have played a lot with each other. It’s been exactly a decade since they started making music together in December 2003. Just because a singer Katrina Mogensen took part in a singing contest and needed someone to play with her. So magic worked… and that’s how mammoth was brought back to life with music. The band released two albums – Mammút (2006) and Karkari (2008).
In early 2004, the guys – drummer Andri and guitarist Arnar – joined the girl’s trio (then they were called ROK) of a bass, vocal and guitar. They had only 3 songs written, when they took part in the annual contest of young talents Músíktilraunir in 2004… and won. As you can easily guess, the prize in the competition included a recording session for a debut album. And so that happened. The material for their first ever album – Mammút – was recorded in the famous studio Sundlaugin. You can check it out on gogoyoko.
Nowadays, it’s not so often that Icelandic bands still perform their songs in other language than English. However, Mammút showed on its debut album, which was released in April 2006 by Bad Taste record label, that the band will not turn its back on mother tongue. In opinion of Kata, the author of Mammút’s lyrics, Icelandic is much more natural way to express herself and that´s what the band really wants – the naturalness. Moreover, in their early days they didn’t play too much abroad, so there was also no point to write lyrics in English. They didn’t change their mind even after release of the second album – Karkari – in Germany, in 2009.
The Mammút’s sound is often compared to The Sugarcubes and Sigur Rós. I wonder whether it is appropriate, or maybe this comparison is more about the family ties. A similarity to The Sugarcubes is even not far from the truth, because Mammút has presented kind of rebellious style, slightly punk. Undoubtedly, the fans of Björk will find something for themselves. One of the very strong points of the band’s sound is the vocal expression, strength and a multitude of shades of a woman’s voice that Katrina Mogensen presents. Behind the microphone, this petite girl shows emotions with her entire body. She plays with the timbre of her voice, which is kind of similar to Björk’s sound, and allows him to explode, creating her own style.
But the comparison to Sigur Rós, in my opinion, should end up on the recordings in the same studio and… some kind of magnetism. Unless rock sounds with a large dose of emotions are reserved in Iceland only for Sigur Rós…? The answer is up to you.
A mentioned earlier magnetism in Mammút is to me a distinctive, hypnotising bass of Ása Dýradóttir, who gives the basis of most of the team compositions with her basslines. Aggressive and melodic guitars of Alexandra Baldursdóttir and Arnar Pétursson wrap around the bass, not drowning it. They let him be in the first row. There’s something interesting about girls playing bass guitars…
By now, the musicians of Mammút have followed the direction that they unconsciously chose at the beginning of their journey. Their second album – Karkari – got the Icelandic Kraumur Award. Isn´t bad, right? However, there was announced some change of music style on the upcoming third album. Maybe it´s a matter of time that has elapsed from the last release (in 2008)? The upcoming album has been awaited for a long time. It supposed to be out previous year, but the plans changed. It won’t be a youthful indie-rock anymore. The kids grew up. Will they prove their worth? Mammút´s new stuff is just around the corner. Coming soon. This month.