Boomkat Product Review:
FM Belfast are one of the few Icelandic bands that spring to mind who can truly be said to embrace all-out party-starting exuberance over the more conventionally accepted stereotypes of earnest looking elfin folk playing out brooding sonic landscapes in abandoned herring factories (not naming any names or anything, Sigur Ros... ). This band is perhaps most immediately notable for featuring Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason, one of Iceland's busiest musicians, dividing his time between Múm, Benni Hemm Hemm, Singapore Sling and Slowblow, but on How To Make Friends, FM Belfast sound like anything but a side-project. You'll find yourself thinking of early works by those other great Scandinavian electronic popsters The Knife at various points during the record, and snappy compositions like 'Underwear', 'Tropical' and 'VHS' all stand up favourably to such comparisons. These guys undoubtedly know how to carve a good tune out of their grainy videogame-alike synthesizers, and you get no sense of tweeness from the band thanks to a coarse palette of raw, noisy oscillations. The tongue-in-cheek, occasionally nonsensical lyric strategies keep things interesting too, with opener 'Frequency' announcing itself with a tirade that goes: "Come sing along with me/You're my designated driver/Let's go to Albany/You're the designated driver". Occasionally the band's merriment overspills into madness, never more so than when they're reinterpreting other bands' work. An energy-sapping cover of Technotronic's 'Pump Up The Jam' and an all-but unrecognisable take on Rage Against The Machine's 'Killing In The Name' (here masquerading under the title 'Lotus') might seem ill-advised, but they're less covers than they are semi-ironic acts of sabotage. Lots of fun to be had here - highly recommended.