Tappi Bitid back

“Bitið fast í vitið” (roughly meaning something as “Bite Hard In Your Mind”, ‘Take a Firm Bite of Hell” or “Put Your Teeth Firmly into Hell’,) is the début EP of Tappi Tíkarrass, a female fronted punk band formed in September 1981. This 12 inch was the band’s most punky release and contains 5 tracks, with one song sang in English, “London”. It was released as number 4 on the SPOR label. Later on the band released the full length album “Miranda” in 1983.

Björk was a member of the all-female band ‘Spit and Snot’. In 1980 a little jazz was added with bands like ‘Exodus’ and ‘JAM80′. This 12 inch is considered as Björk’s first record of notice, so let us forget her childish debut from 1977.

Record was recorded at Hljóðrita Studio by Tony Cook (drummer of James Brown!) in August 1982. Released in 1000 copies. The back  cover features a collage of the band members at younger age, including 4 Björk Guðmundsdóttir as kid photos. Design Cover art was made by Dóra Einarsdóttir. Photography by Friðþjófur Helgason.

Bass – Jakob Smári Magnússon

Drums – Guðmundur Þór Gunnarsson

Guitar – Eyjólfur Jóhannsson

Vocals & Keyboards – Björk Guðmundsdóttir

Tappi side 1Tracklist

A1. Óttar

A2. Lok-Lað

A3. Iltí Ebni

B1. London

B2. Fa, Fa (featuring Eyþór Arnalds)

Tappi side 2

I found a fantastic and interesting track-by-track review on Dansrockrecords blog:

1. Óttar

I honestly wasn’t too sure what to expect. Still, I ended up being rather pleasantly surprised: no dicking around, they start with a menacing, low-pitched, Pistols-esque guitar aggressively zooming in along big-boned and chunky drums. The bassist also handles his part of the deal like a pro, helping to carry the tune by adding a little crunch, and making it danceable without overdoing it or going over the top. Nothing extraordinary, sure, and they do sound like your typical 1970s rockers, but they all hold their own and deliver the goods. However, the star of the show undoubtedly is Björk, and being dressed as a pantomime doll doesn’t stop her from eating up the stage. With her vocal range down an octave or two, her voice sounds familiar and recognisable as she joyously half whispers the ethereal chorus, and spurts out sporadic hoarse-throat screams. Once she’s done exhibiting her singing chops, guitarist Jóhannsson changes gears into a discordant solo with a weird but enjoyable jazz fusion feel. Which is an adequate way of closing Ótta, although I wouldn’t have minded if the drunken (and slightly annoying) strident keyboards that follow had passed out on the sofa, and sat this one out instead. Still, not bad at all.

2. Lok-Lað

They soldier on with a piece that instinctively reminded me of The Clash’s Brand New Cadillac, so much so that I found myself waiting for the opening “Driiiiive”. The bassline is fashioned on Paul Simonon’s heavy slapping techniques, while Björk takes up a Joe Strummer-like telegraphic, hiccupy delivery. After she’s done with the first verse though, she adjusts her singing to a Siouxsie and the Banshees meets The Slits twang, then shifts into a more dramatic (and actually quite gorgeous) chant whose uncanny quality interestingly clashes with the slovenly backing and darting beat. The young lady most certainly had a knack for melodies, it’s just a shame that I have no clue what she’s going on about…

3. Iltí Ební

The third track hits off with a stringy guitar riff, the bouncy nature of which had me thinking of The Knacks’ My Sharona. It revs up to escalating drum phrases that build into high velocity loops, providing a loud and satisfying backdrop for Björk to go berserk on. She experiments with sharp tonal jumps, lots of growling, and wild vocalisations akin to yodelling on the refrain (“belala-heee-hee”). Not exactly being what I usually expect from such records, her warbling ditty really caught me off guard. It all clicks relatively well, though, so no reason to complain.

4. London

The only song performed in a language I know is also my least favourite. That doesn’t make it a bad tune, far from it, it simply doesn’t compare too well to the rest, and feels like it’s trying too hard to be different things at the same time. The title as well as their adoptive English seem to indicate an homage to the nucleus of punk, the place Tappi Tíkarrass probably pined for (and where Björk would later establish her HQ to launch an internationally praised solo career), but the lyrics are more focused on WWI exotic dancer Mata “oh-by-the-way-I’m-spying-for-the-enemy” Hari, whose name the frontwoman cries out more often than I care to count. I should also add that, while the percussions are indeed a little one-patterned, they are balanced by jumpy, rockabilly guitar and bass licks, giving London a hint of early The Cure. You know, before they started making a living as professionally depressed goth-rockers.

5. Fa-Fa

Fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa, qu’est-ce que c’est ? Well, it’s not the Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer, nor David Watts by The Kinks, although they feature the same stuttering “fas”. The EP finale is closer to post-punk sensibilities in its guitaristic structure (especially reminiscent of Bernard Sumner, of Joy Division and New Order fame, and his spectral touch), it develops from some haunting fretting work into a more violent, rummaging murmur of a riff, laid over a multi-layered, energetic rhythmic section that offers the whole shebang its wall of sound-ish density. The vocals are masterful as ever: low, raucous, intense, expertly thrumming the splendid chorus, they make way for the cavernous, over-reverberated axe solo and all its cheesiness. Definitely the best song off the disc, Fa-Fa opened the door to Tappi Tíkarrass’ future explorations on their only full-length LP, 1983’s Miranda.

Source: https://dansrockrecords.blogspot.com/2015/08/tappi-tikarrass-1.html

– Wim Van Hooste