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Icelanders Fufanu break out from post-punk pack

What’s the deal?

Fufanu began life nearly a decade ago in Reykjavik as a teenage techno duo called Captain Fufanu, but had morphed into something rather more “rockist” by the time its Bauhaus-lovin’ official debut, Few More Days to Go, rolled around in 2015.

On this year’s icy-cool followup, Sports, you can hear Fufanu’s appreciation for efficient, electronic machine music subtly creeping back into the mix. It’s more of a feel than anything, as the music is still very much in thrall to the more shadowy end of late-’70s post-punk peopled by the likes of Wire, Echo and the Bunnymen and Joy Division. But co-founders Hrafnkell Floki Kaktus Einarsson and Guolaugur Halldor Einarsson — unrelated Einarssons, although fans of music trivia might be interested to know that Kaktus’s dad was in the Sugarcubes with Bjork back in the day — definitely share a techno producer’s ear for sleek, limber rhythms and brain-tickling sonic detail. The presence of Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner behind the boards hasn’t hurt, either, bringing an extra layer of “scorch” to the guitars when required while generally finessing everything else the nascent Fufanu, these days a trio featuring drummer Erling Bang, was doing circa Few More Days to Go and smoothing it out towards a most promising future.

Granted, the post-punk/Krautrock revivalist field is a crowded one, but Fufanu’s tunes have a creeping air of arty British psychedelia about them — Kaktus contributed to Damon Albarn’s Everyday Robots in 2014, and there’s definitely a hint of late-period Blur in some of his vocal melodies — that sets it apart from the pack above and beyond the trio’s self-assured sense of poise. If this sounds like your kind of thing, it probably is.

Sum up what you do in a few simple sentences.

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“Well, we are known for being professional but not behaving,” says the band, speaking in collective, “hive” form. “But what we think we are doing is always exactly what we want to be doing at each moment. Most of the time that is making techno that is influenced by rock music or vice versa. And we’re always being honest when we make no sense.”

Fufanu mix electronic influences and the likes of Wire, Echo and the Bunnymen and Joy Division
Fufanu mix electronic influences and the likes of Wire, Echo and the Bunnymen and Joy Division  (Magnus Andersen / supplied photo)  

What’s a song I need to hear right now?

“Liability.” If you’re gonna do this very, very specific thing at this point in pop history, you need to do it very, very well. Fufanu does it very, very well.

Where can I see them play?

At the Horseshoe Tavern on Saturday, Nov. 11, with MAMMUT as part of the Taste of Iceland Toronto festival’s “Reykjavik Calling” night. It’s free!