Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Benni Hemm Hemm's symphonic orchestra

Look at that photo! Look at that brass! They're Icelandic! Surely that should be enough to fall in love with them?

I shall say some more in case you are not convinced, but if you like(d) Hjaltalín, then you will surely like the 'Hemm. I think they even share some horn players, in some big happy horn-swapping family kind of way. But they use a lot more horns. Horns are what Benni Hemm Hemm are about, even though Benni himself just sings/plays a guitar.

Their first self-titled album is probably the best place to start with them, half in Icelandic, half in English. Plus it has the greatly named I Can Love You In A Wheelchair Baby- not only does he sound pretty much like Jens Lekman, but he has also duetted with him as a bonus track for BHH's second album, Kajak, and then also had Jens Lekman sing in Swedish for Benni Hemm Hemm's cover of JL's Maple Leaves on BHH's limited release mini-album, Ein Í Leyni, released at the end of 2007 (if that strange sentence made sense!).

Anyway. After that giant gap of half a year or so, Benni Hemm Hemm are back! With their new colourful-looking album called Murta St. Calunga:

At the moment, this can only be bought from Iceland, from their new Icelandic label (same as that Hjaltalín band's label) Kimi Records, but you get a nice immediate download of the album straight away if you order the cd (or just a standard cheaper download-only version should you prefer). This time there are two songs in English (after having consciously moved away from any English sung songs for the past couple of releases), including Whaling In The North Atlantic. I've only listened to the album about 4 or 5 times so far, but I'm really liking it- lots of lovely pieces of instrumentation also.

A few more of their songs can be heard on their myspace, which just leaves me to end with one of the songs which begins the Benni Hemm Hemm story (providing you ignore their very first ep release, which I don't have, and so I shall)- live at the Luminaire in London in November 2006, with us sat back in deckchairs watching the great show; here is Beginning End:

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