Imagine yourself being confronted with the organization of a music festival. Kind of a tough decision which bands to book. Okay, so let’s pretend that we have the unlikely circumstances that money wouldn’t have any influence on your decision – well, you could hire a big player or save some of that money by booking Icelandic pop collective RETRO STEFSON. The price-performance-ratio of these six guys plus one lady is just too good. With their electrifying mixture of nearly every popmusical genre and stunning live energy the band from Reykjavík became something like one of Europe’s best kept live tips. They are funny, entertaining, full of ideas and energy. A band who likes to play with joy whenever they pick up their instruments. After their sophomore album Kimbabwe from 2011 already gave them a certain level of attention, the self-titled third one now aims for more.
It’s kind of fascinating how easily RETRO STEFSON combine everything from electro house to 80s metal in their music. Including radical genre switching, hip hop breaks and an unconditional dedication to the groove. Combined with their overwhelming live power it really makes you wonder. On a theoretical level there is no chance that this works. But it does, even on the record – at least if you are open minded. RETRO STEFSON‘s third longplayer combines all these elements into a big entertaining record that has anything. Pop, rock, indie, wave and dance team up once more. Compared to Kimbabwe the sound of Retro Stefson is more focussed, more electronic and the production is way smoother. While the opener Solaris is surprisingly spheric, the following hit singles Glow and Qween represent the new more electronic side. Especially classic house music might have influenced the band this time.
But there is, of course, also room for smooth r’n’b in a song like (o) Kami or breakbeats in combination with slick 80s synthies in Time. And just to avoid bordom – directly after this the funky She Said pays tribute to the power of 1990s house music. It’s this dedication to the groove that makes this wild mixture work in the end. It’s quite hard to sit still when RETRO STEFSON unfold their pumping grooves. Especially the clear house music references in combination with ‘real’ instruments work out quite well in the end. The lo-fi sound from previous releases gets a posh update and it looks like RETRO STEFSON are lurking more to the club floor than before. This might or might not have an effect on their upcoming live shows. For a final result you have to experience the seven piece on stage. It might convince you even more than this lovely record can.