I will not deny that Iceland is a magical place. Its position between two continents, its isolation and unique geology give the country a mystical pull. I’ve been wondering for sometime, however, if the international success achieved by Icelandic bands ever since Bjork has paved the crossway between ethereal wave and avant-garde, can be entirely explained by excessive talent and lack of distraction upon that sparsely populated cluster of volcanos. I suspect that Iceland has become a quality label for an uncritical audience that prefers to meditate to music instead of actually listening to it. This is why the new release Iceland’s Pascal Pinon would never have made it onto the Fuzz if it wasn’t the scarcity of releases in the first weeks of January and the fact that the band will be performing on Eurosonic a few days from now.
Pascal Pinon was a railroad worker in the early 20th century with an enormous benign cyste growing from the top of his head, leading to him joining a sideshow as ‘the two-headed Mexican’. His name is now used by a two-headed Icelandic folk outfit consisting of twin-sisters Jófrídur and Ásohildur Ákadöttir. Even though the twins are barely 18 years old Twosomeness isn’t their first album. A selftitled debut dates back to 2010 when they were only 14. The utterly uninspired music press compared the early to Tegan and Sara (twins) and Seabear (Icelanders). The album was described as sweet, cheerful and innocent and if you listen to Twosomeness with the same cynical prejudice as I initially did you will conclude that not an awful lot has changed. Twosomeness is filled with angelic harmonies, half whispered-half sung, half English-half Icelandic, all adorned by a thin see-through gown of instrumentation, baring a vulnerability and serenity that makes Perfume Genius sound like a death metal-head.
Twosomeness could easily have provoked me for all kinds of slander. How dare they be so delicate and pristine in a world so foul and violent and lest not forget that they owe us a lot of money. This is the BLOG that voted White Lung best album of 2012, we will not go all squishy at the hand of a couple of dreamy teens in virgin white nighties. But I’m afraid these sirens have done me in. After a few listens the other-wordlyness of Twosomeness seizes to offend me and becomes almost like a gospel. Just listen to the magical Evgeny Kissin, a song that is the perfect symbiosis between a bedroom ballad XX fashion and a grand choral song. From that point on I start to hear more and more extraordinary details in the arrangements that I would sooner qualify as distinctive than hazy. I feel that Jófrídur and Ásohildur Ákadöttir, young as they are, have reached a level of refinement that the likes of Sóley and Lykke Li have yet to reach. Unlike The Secret Love Parade, who’s naivety made me feel like a pedophilic voyeur, Twosomeness makes me feel almost enlightened.
With Haim being hailed as the next best thing and the next album by Tegan and Sara expected soon, Pascal Pinon could add to 2013 being a year that sister aren’t just doing it for themselves, but for all of us as well.