Posted by: will | August 8, 2007

Benni Hemm Hemm…

Benni Hemm Hemm “Kajak” (Morr Music)

Buy it at Insound!

Even after Bjork and Sigur Ros, Iceland continues to be a hotbed for music. Benni Hemm Hemm carry on the country’s rich musical tradition. Led by and named after eccentric front man Benedikt H. Hermannsson (his nickname is Benni Hemm Hemm), Kajak is the group’s second album and first for notable electronic label Morr Music. Morr has expanded their roster a great deal it seems over the last few years and Benni Hemm Hemm is proof of that. The band plays a gorgeous brand of indie pop and Kajak is a diverse 50+ minute journey through the creative mind of Hermannsson.

Lyrically, there is not a lot to grab onto as Kajak plays out. The lyrics are sung in Icelandic but that really is inconsequential to the album. The attraction to Benni Hemm Hemm is found in the band’s rich arrangements, not necessarily Hermannsson’s song-writing depth. Hermannsson accentuates his songs with ample horns, drums, bass, glockenspiel, and harmonium. Even when the songs on Kajak miss their mark, the sounds and upbeat mood they create are hard to ignore. Still, at 50+ minutes, Kajak has a hard time moving beyond good to great. And while there is certainly a lot to love about Kajak, the band might just be asking a little too much from its listeners to sift through it all to find the diamonds.

RIYL: Mum, Sufjan Stevens, Neutral Milk Hotel

Listen: Benni Hemm Hemm – Snjórjljóssnjór (mp3)

www.myspace.com/bennihemmhemm

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