Sin Fang explores the outer reaches of his imagination with ‘Spaceland’

sin-fang-spaceland

Sin Fang

Spaceland (Morr Music)

7/10

There’s a line in LCD Soundsystem’s anthem “Losing My Edge” that goes something like “I hear that you and your band have sold your guitars and bought turntables”. Judging by Sin Fang‘s fourth album Spaceland, this line has been followed to the letter. 

Sin Fang, the brainchild of Iceland’s Sindri Már Sigfússon, has been steadily evolving since the release of debut Clangour in 2008, which charmed the pants off the world with its fisher price approach to off-kilter indie rock. Sigfússon’s vision seemed to reach an apex with the release of Flowers in 2013 which honed his latent pop sensibilities in to a fully realised flourish of enchanting tracks, brought to sparkling life with the help of Sigur Rós producer Alex Somers.

With the aptly titled Spaceland, Sigfússon has initiated a break in this trajectory and taken his sound in a more interstellar direction. It’s a testament to his label, the German-based Morr Music, that he has been afforded the artistic freedom to do this and, on the whole, it’s a move that’s paid off.

Opener “Candyland” sets the tone as it fizzes with rapid fire beats dispatched behind a slick downtempo R’n’B delivery. It’s also clear from the outset that Sigfússon is at the top of his game vocal wise as his voice sounds devastatingly direct and smooth.

“Lost Girls” is a tightly wound experiment of 90s inspired acid house that reflects Sigfússon’s willingness to break from Sin Fang’s previous output and embrace a more dance orientated sound, which is pretty much what Spaceland is all about.

This synth heavy approach works best when the frenetic, rhythmic elements are dialled back and the emphasis is shifted to producing melodic hooks, something that Sin Fang has always been excellent at producing. “Never Let Me Go”, which features one of many collaborations, this time from fellow Icelander Sóley, burns with a slow build that gives way to a bright, uplifting blast of sonics. The impact is heightened due to the fact that lyrically, the track sees Sigfússon deal with the abjection that plagued him during the writing and recording of Spaceland. It’s a contrast that adds weight to track and gives it an inescapable emotive layer.

But Spaceland saves its best for last in the form of closer “Down”. The track, which features the unmistakable vocals of Jófríður Ákadóttir of Samaris (billed here as Jfdr) shimmers with a slow R’n’B heavy, jittery beat and has a glitchy, mile high chorus that sits as an icy pop gem at the climax of the album.

Spaceland undoubtedly sees Sigfússon turn his hand to a more synth heavy, dance orientated sound, but given his recent output with GANGLY, this move is hardly surprising. If you’re a Sin Fang die-hard, approach Spaceland with an open mind and you’ll be rewarded. If you’re not, just immerse yourself in a cosmic adventure that’s definitely worth taking.

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