Perhaps to escape economic woe, seemingly half of Reykjavik has tonight cheekboned its way to Hoxton to witness a band that, despite its name, has nothing whatsoever to do with Northern Ireland.
FM Belfast are Icelandic. You can tell this by the core members’ names, which are rni Rnar Hlversson, rni Vilhjlmsson and La Hln Hjlmtsdttir. See all those razory accents? Cheekbones all.
Their appearance screams “WILL YOU MOST KINDLY JOIN US IN A FUNNY LITTLE PARTY PLEASE”; bow ties vie with braces and shorts for most incongruous accoutrement adorning a Hoxton night out. Their music backs up their fashion statements; FM Belfast on record are an interesting proposition, but live, before a rammed-to-the-rafters crowd, they become a life force of many legs and arms.
They’re not about demonstrating finesse with their instrumentation, which anyway begins and ends with little more than a guitar and a laptop. Instead, various members jump about, variously wailing and shouting into microphones as if they’re Los Campesinos! auditioning to form a supergroup with Slagsmlsklubben.
One of their number presses buttons on the laptop and makes dials on sundry boxes go round and round. During I Can Feel Love, he and his accomplices gesture at the audience to be seated, specifically so he can wind them all back to standing again. Some of the audience get it first time; eventually the slow-on-the-uptake sorts do too, and the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen is suddenly full of squatting bodies. Momentarily, something Icelandic has taken place.
They audiciously segue from their original material to the songs of their youth that influenced it. Then they warp it about a bit. So we get Rage Against The Machine‘s Killing In The Name starkly sliced with a cool-as-ice(land) Gus Gus formula; later we get a loved-up-on-a-lawn take on Technotronic‘s ’80s Dutch pop classic Pump Up The Jam, which becomes so languid it all but falls over its untied laces.
While their obvious forbears Gus Gus work best sassing out in a club, FM Belfast take their vibe and scamper to the indie disco. Their just-released album is called How To Make Friends. As tonight’s show proves, you do so by bringing your soon-to-be friends to see FM Belfast.