Thor's Hammer

From Keflavik, With Love

  • AllMusic Rating
    9
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Twenty of Thor's Hammer's 1965-1967 recordings are on this compilation, which emphasizes their mid-'60s English-sung sessions in London. The other half is filled out by Icelandic songs and their 1967 Columbia single, as well as an outtake from the Columbia sessions, "By the Sea." Thor's Hammer was undoubtedly the best-known 1960s Icelandic band, which is not too useful a guide for curious consumers, as they're likely the only Icelandic '60s band whose product has been reissued for the international market. All joking aside, this would be respectable British Invasion-styled rock no matter where it came from, though it's not great. Certainly the best cuts are the toughest ones from their 1966 London session, where Petur Ostlund pounded the drums with a Who-like fury, and the group wrote engaging, tough mod rockers with "I Don't Care," "My Life," "Better Days," and "The Big Beat Country Dance." "If You Knew," which is like the hardest Merseybeat or early Hollies, is another highlight. The lighter Merseybeat-ish items are less impressive, but still reasonably fetching (though they totally lose the beat during the instrumental break of the ballad "Love Enough"). The Icelandic-sung cuts are of a lower order, because of both their more perfunctory production and more generic songwriting. The Columbia cuts are an odd, not wholly successful attempt to Americanize their sound, especially with the peppy horns. Three songs from a 1967 LP find them going into a more reflective British-pop style, with the addition of an English session man on organ. Extremely lengthy and informed notes by Alec Palao provide a history of this hitherto mysterious (to non-Icelandic residents) band.

blue highlight denotes track pick