amiina are an Icelandic post-rock/ambient ensemble, formed in 2004 by a quartet of female musicians who met whilst studying at the Reykjavik College Of Music in the 1990's. The group have since added a fifth male member.
An exceptionally talented group of musicians, amiina play a plethora of instruments and also utilise sound samples and electronics. The band are best known for providing string accompaniment to Sigur Ros, most notably on Sigur Ros' album ( ).
Puzzle begins with the track Àsinn. The track opens with electronics and beats before adding strings to the mix. Complex melodies are performed as the track builds until ultimately ending with a cacophony of sound.
Second track Over and Again sees the group changing the pace somewhat. Delicate glockenspiel-like bells ring out, accompanied by baroque guitar. Before long, vocals are added, delivered in the familiar folky 'sing-song' style employed by many such acts.
amiina continue onward through the rest of Puzzle in a similar fashion, covering much ground in the eight tracks present and finishing on an evocative and melancholic number.
Overall, the tracks are well made but feel a little over produced and it would have been preferable had there been a little less sheen on the recording. Still, this is a minor complaint in an album of no small ethereal beauty which avoids the familiar post-rock cliche of building from a whisper to a crescendo.
Released September 27th, Puzzle shows amiina to be an act with genuine crossover appeal, their commercial sound bound to impress casual listeners and also once again proves the extraordinary talent to population ratio in Iceland.
Listen to two tracks from the album
Review by Adam Williams for Futuresequence