Dad Rocks! – Year of the Flesh

Dad Rocks! is the work of Snӕvar Njáll Albertsson; the Icelandic quarter of death-indie (their words) band Mimas. ‘Year of the Flesh’ is his second album, and one I have been eagerly awaiting. It’s easy to compare Dad Rocks! to Jonsi, as both are Icelandic multi-instrumentalists making unusual pop folk. But that seems a bit unfair as the amount of variety shown in ‘Year of the Flesh’. Aspects of some songs are similar to Tall Ships and Johnny Foreigner, whilst some sound like rejected Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly songs.

The album starts with the instrumental ‘BMI’, setting the tone for the album. Next up is ‘Peers’, a song about file-sharing; something Snӕvar feels strongly about. If it increases his fan-base he doesn’t really care. The chorus starts with “But that’s OK, ’cause the songs we play sound the same anyway” – as long as you improve the song or knowledge of the song you can feel free to “share this song with everyone. It will not be frowned upon”. Snӕvar is an advocate for Creative Commons, a company working to increase the sharing of creative works. But more on that later.

‘Peers’ reminds me of ‘Weapons’, off the 2011 album ‘Mount Modern’. The video for which also queried the approach, and punishment, to file sharing. But as both are strong songs, I think he gets away with it.

‘Daughter Track’ and ‘Cyber Bullies’ are both catchy songs, and flow naturally into each other. In fact, the first four tracks could easily be a single long track.

The tempo of the album is rapidly cut short by ‘Managed’ though. Almost a ballad, this song seems out of place, and along with following track ‘In The Seine’, both are a bit disappointing. After a couple of listens ‘Managed’ gets a bit better, but ‘In The Seine’ is a jaunty country number that I just can’t get behind.

However, the rest of album finishes strong. ‘Waves’ and ‘White Collar’ are similar catchy pop songs, with the occasional bar of 3/4 thrown in for good measure, and final track ‘Body Mass Index’ closes the album very strongly, and is possibly my favourite track. A slow-paced emotional song focusing on the effects of eating disorders (a recurring topic). The song slowly builds, and is a fantastic end to the album.

I think it’s also worth noting that, as well as the original album, Snӕvar has released a compilation of fans’ versions of his own songs – ‘Year of the Fan’. This is keeping in line with ‘Mount Modern’. These remixes are available to download for free on bandcamp. Also, in 2012 he released an EP of remixes from 6001 Hulls after hearing a version of one of his songs on Soundcloud.

– Alex Ryan

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