Any conclusion you jump to regarding Fufanu is likely to be wrong. Based around a core duo of Kaktus Einarsson and Gulli Einarsson, they’re the latest talked-about band to hail from Iceland, but familiarity with that nation’s best known musical exports (Björk, Sigur Rós) won’t tell you a jot about the fizzing gothic blare of their debut album ‘Few More Days To Go’. They first garnered attention in 2014 supporting Damon Albarn in the Royal Albert Hall (Kaktus worked in a studio capacity on his ‘Everyday Robots’ album), and have since opened for Blur, but certainly don’t sound like industry patsies weaseling their way onto prestigious bills.
‘Few More…’ contains both surprises and contradictions in its slightly overlong 49 minutes. The gravely intoned vocals of opener ‘Now’ set the mood, yet Kaktus’ lyrics are ones of optimism and uplift (“I want to take you out now / Make you touch the clouds…”), the sonics a vibrant, electronically-driven clash of clattering drums and church bell-esque peals. Fufanu fully embrace their digital side – indeed, they began life as a punked-up techno twosome – and make it chime with the bassy, rigid throb of classic post-punk. ‘Northern Gannet’, all shuffling cymbals and semi-spoken vocals, finds an extra gear when a raucous riff worthy of goth progenitors Bauhaus kicks into life halfway through. Similarly, ‘In The Light Of The Night’ is a slow, bleak and ashen moment of Joy Division glumness that throws in 60 seconds of widescreen shoegaze skree at the end.
There are further curveballs. ‘Blinking’ and ‘Your Collection’ are mechanised alt-rockers resembling, most likely by accident, a less perfectionist version of Garbage. ‘Plastic People’ boasts a delightful synth line, like electro in a haunted videogame castle, but its lyrics find Kaktus’ earlier optimism cracking beyond repair. Phonies lurk round every corner, they’re talking about him too… it’s itchily claustrophobic, but you can dance with abandon. ‘Few More Days To Go’ seldom offers easy listening or conforms to expectations – but it’s easy to tell what Damon and others see in them, and you can expect to hear more from Fufanu.