When yours truly picked this album to review I thought it was on the great experimental Unsound label; instead it’s a decent little record released on Karisma Records, a label out of Bergen. Bad Sounds are a little behind the times here; we admit it. (We never said we were THAT hip!)
This was released in Norway in 2010, and released internationally a year later. Unsound seems to have been forgotten in the vast forests of Norway, not making a big splash on the scene; even though it may have deserved a better fate.
The cover is as haunting as the first title track from Funin. A slow building dark groove, that can only be described as some kind of “viking tribal indie rock”. Nicely produced, “Unsound” features some nice guitar samples, standup bass and drumming along side the mostly female vocals . It’s been done before, but it’s done fairly well. Next, “Everything” bring in the strings and sounds a lot like Arcade Fire; not necessarily a bad thing; good songwriting here makes up for the similarities.
“Wonderland” takes an unexpected jazzy turn, but brings back the heavy groove and strings at the end. Here you can really hear heavy 90’s Björk influences. Again, not a bad thing, just not that original of a sound (although the 90’s are back, no?). “Tornado” spins even more into the weird world of Björk (has she lost her mind at this point, anyone know?) with drum machines and other eccentric sounds. Track “Last day” sounds more and more like a homage to the strange and mighty fairy goddess of Iceland. “Inch of me” is next, bringing us back to the glitchy-dreamy technoland, with a bit of jazziness to mix it up.
But it’s at this point the tracks on Unsound starts to unsound. As my memory fades from the great beginning, the record looses some focus. Funin try to revitalize with some tribal funk on “Rocking Chair”, but at this point it’s too late. The last track, “Skywalkers” finishes off with some nice string instrumentation, but hardly enough to save the record.
Unsound is definitely for fans of Björk, Arcade Fire and Portishead. If that’s your thing, check it out before it fades into obscurity.
On a side note, why this band hasn’t been headlining Øya Festival with the rest of the “in over their heads” Norwegian bands, I will never know. Funin beat most of their competitors doing this kind of music, proving once again that you have to go outside of Oslo to find interesting “indie rock” artists in Norway. Funin are talented musicians, but should perhaps focus on finding their own voice in future, instead of getting lost on an already beaten track.