For a city with a population of just over 120,000, Reykjavík has given rise to a seemingly inordinate number of top-tier musical acts, from Bjí¶rk and Sigur Rós to múm and amiina. Not surprisingly, there’s a fair amount of crossover and collaboration between the musicians in Iceland’s capital. Amiina, for example, is Sigur Rós’s de facto string section. And the band Seabear is led by singer-guitarist Sindri Már Sigfússon, who also happens to be the lone member of Sin Fang Bous.
Unlike Sea Bear’s organic brand of indie folk, Sin Fang Bous’s sound—as heard on its debut album, Clangour—is a bit of an oddity, centred on Sigfússon’s facility with classic pop hooks but augmented by lo-fi glitchcore beeps, samples, and programmed beats.
“I had a few rules for this album,” says Sigfússon, reached in Reykjavík, where he’s on his way home from a band practice. “One of the rules was that I was going to play everything myself and see what happens, and to kind of see if I could do it. I mean, I have lots of friends who play, so I could have gotten a really talented drummer or a really good bass player or something to play, but instead I did it myself. I’m not very good at those things, to be honest, but I kind of wanted to try it.”
In fact, Clangour provides a pretty good indication of how Seabear’s first full-length, 2007’s The Ghost That Carried Us Away, might have turned out if Sigfússon had been left to his own devices. “Seabear kind of started like Sin Fang is now, because it started as my solo-project thing, where I did everything and stuff like that, but now it’s a full band,” he says. “The way we did this [Seabear] album was just like a normal band. We just met in a rehearsal room and played songs until they were ready, and then we recorded them.”
Seabear also road-tested many of its songs before recording, which Sigfússon says was not the case with his new material. “For the Sin Fang album, I was writing the songs as I was recording them,” he reveals. “It’s really spontaneous.”
Sin Fang Bous’s aesthetic is arguably similar to that of some of Beck Hansen’s work. Sigfússon says he’s a big fan of Beck’s Sea Change, but what’s really inspiring him these days is Fleetwood Mac, and some of Stevie Nicks’s solo work. “I was, like, obsessed with one thing I saw on the Internet, which was a recording of Stevie Nicks rehearsing a song called ”˜Wild Heart’,” he says. “I saw it on YouTube. She’s backstage, getting her makeup done or something, and they’re playing this demo track and she’s singing along to it. I thought it sounded really cool.”
So much so, in fact, that Sigfússon plans to record his own version of the song, and he also has covers of Fleetwood Mac’s “Beautiful Child” and “Landslide” in the works. Of course, he has plenty of his own videos up on YouTube. And who knows—maybe Nicks will watch one and return the compliment.
Sin Fang Bous opens for múm at Venue on Monday (November 2).