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"How To Make Friends"

FM Belfast – How To Make Friends
10 February 2010, 14:00 Written by Gina Louise
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When it comes to pumping out great electronica, Iceland have pretty much got it covered. Yet whilst the majority of artists to emerge from the world’s electronic capital are somewhat weird and wonderful experimentalists (think Sigur Ros and Bjork), FM Belfast have gone more mainstream and acknowledged the dirty western influence in their infectiously synth-ridden music.It seems they have finally realised their selfish ways and decided to release their album in the UK as well as Iceland, and boy am I glad they have. How To Make Friends is 36 minutes of original, down-tempo electro that proves you don’t have to record a disgruntled goat playing the keyboard to make original electro.Each song seems to resemble a myriad of bands past and present, combining genres and influences in an innovative tribute to electro. It takes you on a journey of electronic music through the ages, from the rude synths of Black Devil Disco Club through the tropical sounds of The Knife to the intricate melodies of MSTRKRFT, taking elements of each band and mashing them together to create one eclectic mix.There are a couple of covers on the album, (‘Lotus’ and ‘PUMP’), which seems to fit the band’s ethos rather nicely. Much like a playdough fun factory, they take something recognisable, fiddle a few knobs and press a few buttons and squeeze out a masterpiece (and yes, I may have doctored my childhood memories a little here”¦). In this way, they create unpretentious, accessible electro. ‘Lotus’ is a brave cover of ‘Killing In The Name Of’, and works by removing Rage’s venom and injecting a lethargy into the vocals. They’ve also turned scantily clad ravers fave ‘Pump’, into a low key classic, sounding much like the automated voicemail lady having some dirty-assed phone sex.Through the songs they have written themselves you can see that these kids are a little adverse to the mundane daily toils of life in Iceland. ‘Underwear’ shows the band’s playful side, as they strive to make their own entertainment in a country that doesn’t understand their desire to play.‘Tropical’ blends together Knife-esque vocals with classic computer game synths, creating a nostalgia that is echoed in Synthia, which sounds like it belongs on a ‘Best of the 80’s’ CD. Its tropical melody, delayed echoing vocals and biting synths make it a definite dancefloor filler. As is ‘Par Avion’, which sounds like the offspring spawned from a passionate night of indie-electro love between Cold Cave and Bloc Party.It seems there is nothing these bow-tie sporting guys can’t do, as they record, master and mix all their music themselves, and even create their own album artwork. Their uplifting, cheery music is extended to their personalities, and there are a fair few interesting tour stories being bandied around at the moment. Catch them if you can, for an appearance in the UK is a rare thing for these guys.RECOMMENDED
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