If you haven’t heard of BSÍ yet, then prepare to have your ears graced with some loud and fast, lofi-cute-pop-punk-surf-riot-indie goodness. The duo of Silla Thorarensen (drums and vocals) and Julius Pollux Rothlaender (bass guitar and toe-synths) is one of the most unconventional bands emerging from Iceland’s flourishing DIY scene. Besides playing the digital versions of Iceland Airwaves and Eurosonic Festival, the pair used the year of the pandemic to write and record the best titled debut album you’ll find in a long time: Sometimes Depressed… But Always Antifascist.
“Vesturbæjar Beach” opens the second-half of their upcoming debut album, opposing its more melancholic first half. It finds Thorarensen and Rothlaender celebrating Sumardagurinn fyrst – the first day of summer in the old Icelandic calendar (despite the fact that the day often resembles a return of snowfall and sub-zero temperatures). But why not have an early excuse for a summer tune and a beach party? Why not indeed, say BSÍ with this fun-loving track.
Thorarensen’s straight, lo-fi drums provide an infectiously danceable backbeat that grooves with essences of Vampire Weekend’s seminal “A-Punk.” Her reverby vocals catch you in with the hook — “got me going all night long” — before letting you hang loose a little with the juxtaposing, dreamier bridge sections.
Rothlaender’s curiously acute guitar embellishments pepper the sonic surroundings, giving off a distinctly DIY aroma that transports you to some dingy Icelandic basement gig venue that we’d give an arm and a leg to be at right now.
Like any good lofi-cute-pop-punk-surf-riot-indie track, you get the full experience in compact fashion. It’s all over in under two and a half minutes, and instinctually you find yourself reaching for that play button once more, or twice, or maybe more.
After releasing previous singles “25Lue” and “Dónakallalagið” in March, “Vesturbæjar Beach” is the latest, most exciting glimpse yet into BSÍ’s dualistic debut album due out next month. The track perfectly captures BSÍ’s freezing summer party in all its carefree, DIY glory and pays a fitting homage to Vesturbær, the band’s home neighborhood in the west of Reykjavík.
Sub-zero swim, anyone?