Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Jakobinarina- happy to sell out

With all of the upheavals in the record industry, we now live in an age where the whole idea of "selling out" has been turned upside down. With labels and retailers disappearing, bands have to look for other sources of income along with touring- as such, ads look more and more enticing nowadays, becoming so prevalent that we even see indie and punk bands doing it. It's gotten so f-ing ubiquitous that to even complain about it nowadays makes you sound like an ol' fogey.

That's why it's refreshing to see Icelandic group Jakobínarína gleefully make fun of this trend. Over churning guitars, singer Gunnar Bergmann chants with contempt again and again "This is... an ad-ver-tise-ment/Our... brain-wash attempt." He starts by introducing the group and its intentions. They're happy and ready to give it up to corporate sponsership. "No art-ist-tic freedom or our own thought!" he promises. Hell, they'll even change their name to The Coca Cola Band if needs be. Bergmann's English is pointedly foreign, making you know that it's not his native language and intentionally keeping with short phrases (since Icelandic is such a complex language, I'd like to think this is more because he's making fun of the Queen's tongue). To drive home the point, the chorus is repeated like a mantra, just in case you didn't get the idea and as a great parody of how to sell the product (aka themselves).

Great song that it is, I would have still liked them to go a little more over the top with their conceit. As it is they're not quite at the level of whipsmart self-knowledge as say the Pet Shop Boys or maybe even the Hold Steady but they're definitely contenders.

This goes for the video above too (the single comes out on the nice-big-label Parlophone (home of the Beatles, Queen Coldplay, Gorillaz and the PSB) later this month). Bergmann looks all straight and corporate at first, presenting his band as product but instead of sales charts and meetings later, we see the usual amateur video stunts- the band playing around the area they live, near the thermal baths and hot springs (both of which are admittedly pretty incredible things to see and experience first hand).

Regardless, the song's a wonderfully naive rallying cry for the dwindling number of old-school true-believers who still think that art and commerce shouldn't always go hand in hand.

See/hear more of the band at their MySpace page.


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