tisdag 22 november 2016


(Band also sometimes listed and recognized under its English name - "Thor's Hammer"). For background check post on their debute LP. That had the same eponymous title, but since both were recorded for and only issued in Iceland everyone there could tell them apart anyway. With only a year inbetween you could expect this to be about the same - well performed right on garage pop. But the band had clearly developed a lot in that short time and what you get here is an elaboratedly produced and arranged album in a "summer of love" atmosphere, shifting between soul, baroque pop and psych. I wonder if that had anything to do with their newly recruited female singer Patricia Gail Owens - here under her then artist name Shady Owens. Of mixed heritage - American father and Icelandic mother - she grew up in US and already there aiming for a singing carreer, among other things participating in the less successful dou "Shady & Sonny". 1967, at age 18, she moved to Iceland and within a year got contact with Hljómar, became a member and just after a week or so participated in these recordings. The album is divided into two parts - side one has self-penned numbers while side two relies on covers of original US compositions - from Pickett to Bacharach. Owens does lead vocals on four of the cuts and background for some of the others. She has a lovely voice and as bilingual singing in Icelandic while her idiom is clearly American. The male vocals are fine too, but with the bands own well written songs and the catchy covers I can't help thinking that an alternative version where Owens did all vocals in English would have helped them to reach outside the domestic market and maybe even an international breakthrough. It is that good. Favorite tracks - "Er Han Birtist" (beautiful baroque ballad with Owens to full orchestral backing), "Ég Älska Alla" (Owens doing up-tempo US style soul) and "Lífsgledi" (very catchy pop/rock with fuzz guitars and shared male-female vocals). Recorded in London and produced by Tony Russell. Front sleeve photo by Dezo Hoffman. 1994 CD on Spor (SGCD 018). First vinyl had label as shown here and glossy flip/back cover. (SCÄ*) (FÄV*) (CCÖ*)

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