Makrel

Wonderland

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AllMusic Review by

For those who feel that Icelandic music just isn't hip and obscure enough for them since the rise of Björk, Sigur Rós, and Gus Gus, perhaps the Faroe Islands might be humbly suggested as the next place to search for an identifiable scene. Located about halfway between Iceland and Norway, this archipelago has about one-third the population of Lubbock, TX, and at least one genuinely good rock band in the art rocking quartet Makrel. Not as forbiddingly experimental and atmospherically oriented as most of the best Icelandic bands, Makrel make a sound that would have felt exactly right coming off a 4AD label sampler in the late '80s: the rhythm section is steeped in doomy post-punk, but the guitars and keyboards overlaid have hints of goth rock prettiness and tension. Comparisons to Peter Murphy's post-Bauhaus solo career are right on the money, especially at times when Ari Rouch is using his lower register, as on the chorus to the dreamily foreboding "Walking Away." However, there's some of Murphy's puckish ex-bandmates Love and Rockets on songs like "Flashback Humour," the first verse of which consists of the phrase "I watch Fight Club all day long" repeated endlessly. The songs occasionally drift off into noodly displays of mere ambience, but almost all of them are built on standard verse-chorus formations, giving the album a familiar sound for any fans of late-period Siouxsie and the Banshees or the Sisters of Mercy.

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