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When I usually think of music from Iceland, the colossal ambient rock of Sigur Ros or, of course, the country’s grand dame Bjork come to mind. Vinyl, on the other hand, completely diverts from the icy/experimental blueprint to create some slinky, not-so-subtle attempts at blues-y psych-rock.

Sometimes, the results are fun, like on the pseudo-spooky “Devil’s Old Hole,” where the Farfisa organ goes haywire and the song itself turns into a b-side of “The Monster Mash.” Even the band’s attempt at anthemic Britrock balladry on, what else, “Le Ballad” has its moments. But the problem isn’t necessarily the band, which can display scant flashes of sonic cohesion. It’s vocalist Kristinn Júníusson, who growls and scowls with all the attitude of a bar band singer desperately trying to reach out to a scattered group of drunken denizens at 2am. His throaty delivery, reminiscent of Nick Cave on an off day, isn’t anything we haven’t heard a hundred times before and ten times better.

At least he tones it down on “Every Dreamer’s Nightmare,” the closing track that proves Vinyl really wants to be The Doors; but it’s unfortunate that they’re not even The Doors 21st Century. With Júníusson at the helm and a sound that’s too novelty-riddled, it’s amazing that Vinyl still makes themselves out to be cooler than they deserve to be. For a record that often sounds as unintentionally hilarious as this, that in itself is a sad state of affairs.

If it’s OK with you, I’ll just stick to the Icelandic music I know and love, thanks.


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