The seemingly ceaseless flow of quality music from Scandinavia continues unabated - I'm From Barcelona, Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, Jens Lekman. Recorded in Sundlaugin, the studio of the mercurial Sigur Ros, "kajak" is a gem of an album from Benni Hemm Hemm, their second. On their sophomore effort, the band's eleven members have created a joyous and meandering cacophony, thirteen tracks in length. Warm and welcoming vibrations abound as the listener discertains kettledrums, trumpets, trombones, guitars and a glockenspiel. Emotional, insistent, shimmering and deep. This album is the soundtrack to the perfect summer's evening that always seems just out of our grasp. Pitched sonically in the midst of the aforementioned Sigur Ros, Sufjan Stevens and DeVotchka, there are moments of subtle fragility on display here and dexterous crescendos that bring the eardrums to climax, each extreme as rewarding as the other. "Skvavars", "snjorljossnjor", and "Stoffer" possess perhaps the most immediate impact of the tracks on show, but this is an album that deserves attention in its entirety.
Warm and instantly relevant, "kajak" melts into the consciousness of the listener. Perhaps the perfect band for a Sunday's evening at the Electric Picnic? Listen and make up your own mind.