Kjurr – Brak

Kjurr @ Iceland Airwaves 2013

On September 30th, Kjurr released a debut EP entitled Brak. The band was formed almost exactly a year ago… thanks to the orthodontist of one of the members and his impact on expanding band team to include the drummer – Sólrún Mjöll Kjartansdóttir, who was also his patient, was enormous. The trio plays pop-rock with English lyrics.

A career of Kjurr develops quite dynamically in Iceland. After a winter full of rehearsals, the trio decided to show its own material in public in March this year. The band performed at the annual Musiktilraunir and in August had been touring in Europe for the first time, sharing as well the stage with Polish band Enchanted Hunters. It doesn’t happen so often that such a young group has already had chance to present itself outside Iceland. However, Kjurr doesn’t rest on its laurels. During this year’s Iceland Airwaves, the band gave an outstanding number of 11 performances! The musicians played not only material from their, as yet, the only recording, but also we could also hear two brand new songs.

So how does Brak sound like? The EP begins with a minute-long quiet intro called Feed, which is slowly keeping stronger, paves the way for forthcoming You. The first thing that attracts my attention is a good purring bassline of Einar Hrafn Stefánsson, which along with diversified and progressive drums is a perfect foundation for parts of guitarist and at the same time vocalist. It’s just a beginning of the album and he can already play catchy tunes that you will recognize after a few notes. At first, he scatters modestly gems of guitar sounds. Silence’s calling, darkness’ falling. I think the best time for the first adventure with Kjurr’s music is evening, the time when darkness holds you tight. Standing over me, my vision turns blurry. Especially, when the chorus starts with a blurred spatial backing vocal, that is so volumising in a musical way. And it happens not only in this one song.

Another track on the EP is entitled Sons Of Sorrow and that’s the first song ever written by the band. Unlullabied, we jump into a torrential shower of drums. Kjurr doesn’t like monotony and offers a lot of stops, suspendings, variations of speed or unexpected explosions. This progression of sound leads even to a little jump towards electro. The last minute of Sons of Sorrow becomes more muted, spatial, based on drum pad but Kjurr team surprises us with a final explosion and you simply have to follow the rhythm.

From the very start of Upside Down the song attracts our attention to the young and talented drummer. The song feeling reminds me one of my favourite Polish band Kombajn Do Zbierania Kur Po Wioskach. Maybe it’s because of the softly painted guitar landscape with barely perceptible support of vocals. The landscape gets over time more intensive colours, just to turn the listener upside-down. To push him to his own inside, let him hear a heartbeat accompanied with guitar harmonics. Surrounded by people, they will not believe you. The final song speeds up like it would never ever stop and has to crash into pieces. Carry on!

With Brak, Kjurr takes us on a trip inside a little bit sluggish mind. Missing in between particles of dust, we land slowly on the ground of dark full of reverbs Awake. I’ve been awake for a while. This song shows the depth of sound that keeps us with drum pad just below the surface. The introduction reveals more electronic face of the band, bases on Klemens Hannigan’s guitar effects. A sleepy and kind of dreamy vocal wakes us up right in time to let us spread our arms greedily so we can catch more pearly sounds of guitar, which simply glow in the darkness. Open, open my eyes so I can see you, feel you. Awaken enough by a contrasting rough vocal, we get into a little Kjurr’s boogie.

In the final song Closer powerful drums follow us into a sparkling chorus. A new experience is coming closer. The vocal in background adds a bit of etherealness, seems to be elusive, gliding somewhere out of reach, behind the curtain of sparks made by drums’ sounds.

I’m not even able to choose my favourite track of this album as there are days where the only song that doesn’t absorb me is Feed. This interesting sound of this young band makes me think that with Kjurr - Braka bit bigger experience Kjurr has a chance to get to the forefront of Icelandic music scene’s as a fresh blood. Also, I hope we won’t wait long for the band’s full length release, because the new material presented during Iceland Airwaves is a good sign for the future.

KjurrBrak EP
1. Feed
2. You
3. Sons of Sorrow
4. Upside Down
5. Awake
6. Closer

Listen to Brak on Bandcamp

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