“Desperately seeking Lísa”

Jakobínarína disbanded in 2007, but resurrected recently in 2 bands: Dream Central Station and Grísalappalísa. Grísalappalísa has Jakobínarína’s frontman Gunnar Ragnarsson and drummer Sigurður Möller Sívertsen as members. In 2012 Gunnar and co-singer and poet Baldur Baldursson teamed up, recruiting members of Sudden Weather Change, Oyama, and The Heavy Experience to provide postpunk sounds to underscore the words. The band is named after a song by famous poet annex singer-songwriter Megas.The debut record “ALI” was recorded and mixed in the fall and winter of 2012 by Albert Finnbogason and mastered by Finnur Hákonarson in the early months of 2013. The idea behind the album, released on the 10. July 2013 on the 12Tónar label, reminds me of the album“Kanildúfur” made in 1998 by poet and lúftgítar player Sjón (aka Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson aka Johnny Triumph), and his collaborator Baldur J. Baldursson (Smekkleysa label, SMCD81).

Gunnar’s raw, raspy, ranting voice and Baldur’s singing, spoken, spitted words bring in mind a rotten Sex Pistol, an Einar Örn Benediktsson without companion Curver but with son Kaktus as side-kick, a Talking Head David Byrne, the barking frontman and lyricist of The Fall Mark E. Smith, and even the echoes of Anne Clarke, Henry Rollins and Beastie Boys now and then.

The leitmotiv of the 7 track album is a sort of quest downtown 101 for the love of a girl called Lísa. The first song “Kraut í G” is drums driven. “Allt má (má út)” (Everything Is Allowed (Allowed To Be Erased)) has a funky and psychedelic saxophone included. The single “Lóan er komin” (The Plover Has Arrived) is the 3rd song. The forth one “Fjallkirkjan” (The Mountain Church) has hypnotising drums and a stirring saxophone, supplemented with lyrics about the death of Elvis. “Brost’ ekki of bjart” has a start with the 2 singers aside. The ultra short track “Hver er ég?” (Who am I?) starts as an old Jako tune but ends in total Pistols anarchy. The last track “Skrítin birta” (Strange Lighting) is the last scream for Lísa.

To appreciate this album complete a good knowledge of Icelandic is inevitable. But even without good knowledge of Icelandic, one could say this is an outstanding debut by a postpunk poet society.


– Wim Van Hooste