In your face: Indie goes Icelandic in the hands of Skakkamanage

Pub date November 15, 2009

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All Over the Face

By Kimberly Chun

Sounding for all the world like the lost Icelandic kin of Spoon’s Brett Daniel with his happen-now snarl and way with a jittery Amerindie hook, vocalist-guitarist Svavar Petur Eysteinsson could have grown up in Ohio, Nebraska or Texas, listening to the Breeders, Yo La Tengo, Uncle Tupelo, and any number of Homestead and Saddle Creek combos. His Icelandic husband-and-wife band, Skakkamanage, bears more than a passing resemblance to indie rock brothers by other mothers. A sweetness, naked earnestness and on-edge undercurrent of anxiety permeates tracks like “Costa Bravo” and “Like You Did,” helped along by the boy-girl vocals of Eysteinsson and wife Berglind Hasler, on piano and synthesizers. Mum’s Orvar Poreyjarson Smarason contributes harmonica and backing vocals, and throughout such assists and audibly in-your-face inspirations, Skakkamanage appears to be quickly approaching, by dint of its raw courage, a sound of its own.