Worm Is Green started as the bedroom electronica project of Arni Asgeirsson, who soon enlisted longtime friends from his hometown of Akranes, Iceland (population 5,500) to flesh out his melodic soundscapes. Solidifying into a group, Worm Is Green began recording the songs that would become Automagic, released overseas in 2004 on Iceland's Thule Musik (home of múm and The Funerals) and now available in the U.S. on Arena Rock.
Critically praised throughout Europe, Automagic is a wondrous album that pairs Asgeirsson's intricate sound constructions with a potent rhythm section and the haunting, otherworldly vocals of Gudridur Ringsted. Her ethereal singing peppers a record that flits between ambient dream pop and slightly menacing electro-organic music with beats.
Ringsted shines brightest on a risky cover of Joy Division's beloved "Love Will Tear Us Apart," a dramatically different take on a classic that was recorded as a request from Thule Musik's owner. "He wanted to hear a chillout version with female vocals," Asgeirsson notes. "The result was very surprising, and everybody liked it, so we decided to put it alongside the other tracks we'd previously recorded for Automagic
" Elsewhere, Worm Is Green focus on creating their own memorable songs, starting in Asgeirsson's bedroom, and in one case, at his grandfather's jewelry shop, where he recorded samples of Icelandic stones rubbing together and turned them into beats. Once the original ideas are in place, the musicians craft the songs in the studio. While the band's music has dark overtones, a sense of humor comes across in songs like "The Robot Has Got the Blues," and in the quirky melodic turns of the aquatic "Walk Thru."
"We take our work seriously, but the humor is what keeps us together," says Asgeirsson.
This playfulness carries over into the band's own description of its hard to peg sound. Jonsson once told a Finnish TV interviewer, "We are like Lionel Richie. Only newer. And not with The Commodores.
" Perhaps, but a more apt comparison is to British new wave and pop, Factory and 4AD bands, even Portishead. That's all for others to ponder, though, while Worm Is Green stay trained on the future. Automagic earned them a nomination for best new act in Iceland's music awards, and the band was still gelling as the record came together. Now with a few years of experience both in the studio and on stage, the musici