Purumenn – Fyrir Jól / Sjáumst Aftur (Reykjavík Record Shop, RRS-001, Iceland, lathe cut)
I am not too fond of lathe cut singles, as usually, they don't sound that well, and as these singles always come in small runs– 20 to max 100 -, when I hear about them, many times they are already sold out. And that can be frustrating, if you like the song. But like a famous rock band used to sing 'You Can't Always Get What You Want'. Exactly this is the case with the Christmas single of a duo called Purumenn, from Iceland. This morning I discovered their Christmas single through Discogs. According to Discogs, it's a vinyl single, but as the edition is only 50 copies, it much be a lathe cut single, as I don't know any pressing plant that wll press runs of only 50 copies.
I've checked out the song, 'Fyrir Jól' (which translates as 'Before Christmas') and I really liked it. It's a catchy, good-humoured electropop number with male and female vocals, and just listening to it brings me in a good mood. That, of course was gone, when I discovered on the Facebook page of the Rekyavik Record shop that put it out (that is called, just like the label, Reykjavík Record Shop – definitely a good name for a Reykjavík Record shop), that the single is already sold out.
There is also a video of the song, that is already two years old, so the song is already around for some time. According to the sleeve of the single, the song was orignally recorded by Björgvin and Svala. Björgvin and Svala is the duo of Icelandic pop singer Björgvin Halldórsson and his daughter, Svala Karitas Björgvinsdóttir. The two recorded the song 'Fyrir Jól' in 1986, when Svala was only nine years old. It was a big hit, number 1 in Iceland. Svala would go on to be a singer herself. Funny thing is that both Svala and her father represented Iceland in the European song festival, she this year, her father in 1995. Through her career, Svala has had several Christmas hits in Iceland. Svala also managed to have a US hit with her 2001 single 'The Real Me', that reached the Billboard Top 40. At that time, she was living in Los Angeles.
The B-side of the single has another cover,Sjáumst Aftur, originally recorded by Páll Óskar. This is also a Christmas song, based on a French 14th Century hymn. Óskar recorded it for a 1995 Christmas album. Purumenn's version sounds very electronic, futuristic, with both vocoder and more traditional singing.
Purumenn seems to be a Christmas related project of one the members of Grísalappalísa. Grísalappalísa is a Reykjavík alernative rock/pop band that was founded in 2012 and that has some former Jakobínarína members. Jakobínarína was quite popular in 2006-2007, also outside Iceland, with a single on Rough Trade (with the great title 'His Lyrics Are Disastrous') and an album and several singles on Regal. As for Purumenn, to me it's not really clear who exactly are involved, or even with how many they are. In the video, Purumenn seems to be a boy-girl duo, but in a picture on Reykjavík Record Shop 's Facebook page three people are pictured, so mabye Purumenn is a trio. In 2016, the band released a cover of 'Stop The Cavalry' (in Icelandic), that sounded very different from the original, and quite experimental. We will probably hear more Christmas songs from this project in the future.
For now, I am just hoping that Reykjavík Record Shop will decide to do a second cut of their first release, so that we non-Icelandic Christmas music lovers can get a copy!
Check the very seasonal and funny 2015 video of the song here:
The audio of the B-side of the single is also on Youtube: