“I’m going home forever,” sings Wesen’s Júlía Hermannsdottír at the top of the band’s latest single, “Beach Boys.” Itching to explore and live away from her home in Iceland, Hermannsdottír moved to New York City, a move that was cut short by her diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. Unable to pay the costs of American health care, Hermannsdottír has reluctantly returned home. With the help of bandmate and longtime friend Loji Höskuldsson, “Beach Boys” tells the story of the struggle to fit back into life in Iceland.
Through guitars and drums washed in reverb, the sound of wind blowing in the mix, Hermannsdottír passively sings “What’s the point of being attractive/ I’m gonna sit in the back/ I don’t have any meaningful comments/ I’m unable to talk.” The context is dark, but the subtle blend of electronics and guitars that call to mind Beach House or The Postal Service make a serene backdrop. The Reykjavík band’s debut record, Wall of Pain, is on the way, and apart from three singles, their music is widely unknown and unreleased. The two make an interesting duo regardless. Hermannsdottír’s lyrics are blunt and personal, but emotive, and Höskuldsson’s moving instrumentals fit right in. As Wesen continues to progress, their sound is a welcome addition to Reykjavík’s indie scene.
Wesen will be playing at the Iceland Airwaves music festival on Saturday, November 5th at Gamla Bíó at 8:50 pm, and Sunday, November 6th at Valshöllen Upstairs at 8:00 pm.