Over the last couple years, the Icelandic group Fufanu have been chasing a fusion of post-punk, electronica, Britpop, and psychedelia for a sound that is pretty unique and hard to pin down. Recently, that resulted in their excellent sophomore album Sports, which came out early last year. Though they didn’t make it Stateside too often, they toured behind that album extensively — and if you ever find yourself at Iceland Airwaves, they remain one of the must-see acts you can rely on from year to year.
The pace Fufanu had been working at was pretty fast; Sports capped off a year and a half in which they’d also released an EP and their debut, Few More Days To Go. And though constant touring can sometimes slow a band’s writing down, Fufanu found that the inspiration kept coming. While on the road, they wrote enough material to compile three new EPs: Dialogue I, Dialogue II, and Dialogue III. The first is out next month, with the others to follow through the rest of 2018.
Each EP was designed to explore “multiple sonic personalities,” an outgrowth of the band’s restless experimentation and their dismissal of easy categorization. To help produce their new material, they flew Harlem DJ/MC Alap Momin over to Iceland. “It is a dialogue between musicians with different backgrounds, different approaches, and different lifestyles,” frontman Kaktus Einarsson said of the project.
Along with the announcement, Fufanu have shared the first single from Dialogue I. It’s called “Hourglass,” and it finds the band in a more meditative space than we might be used to hearing them in, considering it’s an attempt to process grief. Here’s what Einarsson had to say about the track:
It was a big shock to me when I lost my grandfather, we were really close and understood each other to a special degree. I then lost my grandmother while I was on tour with Fufanu. She had been fighting cancer, but she was so strong that it came as a shock to me when she left. I did not manage to take care of the grief and feelings whilst on tour, so they just moved further and further away from me. It was then by pure coincidence that I was staying in the same hotel in Seattle where I had gotten the news that she had died exactly one year earlier, and those feelings kicked back. I realized that I had been numb for a year and at that moment I started to acknowledge that she was gone. I think I actually finished that process with “Hourglass.”
At the end of Sports, there were a few synth-driven, poppier tracks that had softened the darkness that usually hung at the borders of Fufanu’s music. But there still wasn’t quite anything that prefigured “Hourglass.” An airy synth ballad, “Hourglass” is a much blearier and melancholic approach than the band have delved into before. It’s further proof that Fufanu won’t settle into any one lane just yet, and that we may hear a lot of different versions of the band over the course of this year. Check it out below.
01 “My New Trigger”
02 “Listen To Me”
04 “Nine Twelve”
Dialogue I is out 6/29 via One Little Indian.