For a Minor Reflection, Hook and the Twin
Alisha Ahmed 17/06/2009
For a Minor Reflection might need an introduction if you've not yet heard this wonderful Icelandic band. They are already a great, established act to me, to the point where I actually waited impatiently for them to come back to London and play a headline set, after they supported Sigur Rós during their last tour. So impatient was I that I had promised I would fly all the way to Holland if they didn't add UK dates to their European tour. Thankfully, they took pity on me and the other hundreds of people who were still waiting for them, and came to play at the 229 in London on June 17th (the national Icelandic Day). Background info on For a Minor Reflection includes: a link with Sigur Rós, similarities with Explosions in the Sky, the fact that they're not even 20 years of age and yet they have already accomplished the aforementioned. As for Sigur Ros, it might be that their fans have quite an ear for melancholic and melodic music, hence Minor Reflection being their support act last autumn, but I honestly think the most prominent link Sigur Rós have with Minor Reflection has to do with the Holm family (Georg, the bass player from Sigur Rós, is the big brother of Kjartan, the main guitar player from Minor Reflection), but music-wise they go in a different direction, for some reasons, even a step beyond. The term 'post-rock' is often stirred in their direction because they have instrumental tracks which are built around beautifully crafted music loops and split in movements which actually form separate branches of songs. But what put distance between them and the main exponents of post-rock, from 65daysofstatic to Godspeed you! Black Emperor is the higher value they put on melody over the experimental concept of 'sound, successfully filling an area which personally I had given up believing would ever be considered. So if they play instrumental 12 minute long melancholic tracks with two guitars (occasionally left for a four-hand played piano), a bass and a drum, how is it even possible that they're also the best crowd engagers I have had the privilege to see in years?
When I was honestly giving up, accepting the idea that the more a band feels 'indie' the more their presence on stage is merely about music performance, but definitely not about crowd acknowledgment, these four Icelandic boys come and prove me wrong. If anything, I would expect a lack of interaction from them, because compared to UK bands they have a language barrier, and their volume is such that they would not even need a working microphone on stage! Yet they have it and they use it and they make you feel good because by interacting with the public they show an interest and care which has been taken for granted far too much. And by the time they bet against their tour manager on London asking for an encore, the crowd is too taken away by these four lovely boys not to let them win hands down. Truth is, they have some special skill which makes people feel good about themselves when they're in proximity. I honestly believe no glittering rock'n'roll after party had me smiling as much as when chatting to Kjartan, Guffi, Elvar and Jóhannes. While I discovered some new things I would never have imagined, such as the fact that they are actually still unsigned and that, despite the deep meaningfulness anyone can see in their music, they're not necessarily depressed or constantly introspective. All this and the fact that they are still only 19 years old - boys who are nice and funny, and just a tad silly when they can let themselves be. Ironically, another level I see them connected with Sigur Ros is this supposed 'seriousness'. In my mind, I like to believe this quote, from Kjartan Sveinsson from Sigur Ros, somehow applies to For a Minor Reflection as well: 'When people listen to our music they take us as really serious persons, they put us in that "composers" and "artistes" league, which is crap. We make fart jokes all the time, you know, we are not very serious people. When we make music there is nothing behind it, there is no concept at all.'
For a Minor Reflection have released one album so far: Reistu žig viš, sólin er komin I loft… ('Rise and shine, the sun is up…'). I keenly await the band's new full length album, pencilled in for release next fall.