Guardian Unlimited August 9, 2007
Just watch out for the low-flying noise ... Jakobinarina
Hometown: Hafnarfjordur, Iceland.
The lineup: Ágúst Fannar Ásgeirsson (keyboards), Björgvin Ingi Pétursson (bass), Gunnar Bergmann (vocals), Hallberg Dadi Hallbergsson (guitar, backing vocals), Heimir Gestur Valdimarsson (guitar), Sigurdur Möller Sívertsen (drums).
The background: All hail the new teen punk revolution! From the home of puffins and alien-techno queens! Jakobinarina are Iceland's finest contribution to pop culture since Björk apologised to the British press for being late with the immortal words, "Sorry, I've been shitting." Jakobinarina are six Reykjavikishly rakish garage-hands, surf dudes and punk pranksters whose ramalama guitar anthems with the sardonically angry vocals belie the rapier intelligence of their lyrics, which mainly comment on consumerism, the brainwashing effects of advertising, the generally fucked-up nature of modern society and how everyone apart from them - and Chris Tarrant, allegedly - is having sex. The overall impression from their wryly withering assaults is that being young and penniless is no better or worse amid the breathtaking frozen tundras of the north than it is anywhere else on earth. Aurora Borealis? Same to you with brass knobs on.
The titles of the dozen tracks on their forthcoming debut album The First Crusade are actually better than the music: Monday I'm In Vain, His Lyrics Are Disastrous, (I've Got A Date With) My Television, This Is An Advertisement, Nice Guys Don't Play Good Music. No wonder lead singer Ragnarsson, with his journalistic eye for a good neon banner headline, was invited recently to write an article for the Observer about the Icelandic alt.music scene. "Glacial landscapes, volcanoes and geysers - Iceland is widely regarded as a beautiful country. But do you really think an agitated adolescent like me gives a monkey's about such things?" he wrote, tongue firmly in 18-year-old-cheek. "I was only three when the Sugarcubes split in 1992, but I gather there were lots of stories in the British press at the time about Icelanders eating puffin - as if that's weird. We think it's weird that the English eat fish from a newspaper." Touché.
Jakobinarina claim to love the Wu-Tang Clan, the Velvet Underground, Kraftwerk and Justin Timberlake but they sound more like the Fall in a clinch with the Wedding Present, if you can stomach the unappetising image of Messrs Gedge and Smith making whoopee. They formed at school aged 14, out of the ashes of heads-down, no-nonsense punk loonies Lufthansa. It was at the South-By-South West festival that the band gained the attention of Rough Trade, who in the summer of 2006 released their first EP, His Lyrics Are Disastrous, recorded with Sigur Ros producer Ken Thomas. Dates in Britain followed with Love Is All and Brian Johnstown Massacre, during which gig-goers either fell for or fell foul of the band's coruscating guitars and paint-stripping vocals. Pro-Jako flag-wavers included the Klaxons and Simian Mobile Disco. After one triumphant show in early 2007, the band were picked up by Parlophone, and recorded their debut album with producer Stan Kybert and engineer Mike (Arctic Monkeys) Crossey. Now you, too, can marvel at the wit and wisdom of Jakobinarina. Just watch out for the low-flying noise.
The buzz: "It's irritating, it's whiney, it's bloody annoying, to be quite honest. But honesty is the intention."
The truth: They've got a Moz-ish eye for a pithy couplet, if not Marr's ear for a poignant melody. Most likely to: Carve out six separate careers as newspaper sub-editors.
Least likely to: Work for the Icelandic Tourist Board.
File next to: the Fall, the Wedding Present, Bogshed, the Ramones.
What to buy: His Lyrics Are Disastrous is re-released by Regal on September 24, with The First Crusade to follow on October 1.