Comprised of Andri Már (saxophone), Margrét Rán (vocals), Ólafur Alexander (guitar) and Jon Valur, the Icelandic-based quartet of Vök, originally formed last year as a duo between Már and Rán, who started the band to compete in their native country’s annual Músíktilraunir music competition. However, Már and Rán didn’t have any material to actually perform. So within a couple of weeks, the duo wrote material, performed in the Icelandic version of battle of the bands – and won the competition.
Guitarist Ólafur Alexander joined the band last summer, and the band as a trio to record their debut EP, Tension which was released through Icelandic indie rock label, Record Records to critical praise internationally; in fact, they received praise from the likes of the New York Times. And as a result, the band will be making appearances at several European festivals including the Ja Ja Ja Festival, which celebrates new and emerging music from across Scandinavia and Eurosonic Nooderslag Festival.
“Tension,” the EP title track of the band’s recently released EP, Tension is a slow-burning and sensual track comprised of Margrét Rán’s cooed vocals paired with guitars fed through wah-wah pedal, gently cascading synths, swirling electronics and industrial clink and clang. Although the band’s sound has been favorably compared to the likes of the xx, The Knife and Polica (who I personally find quite dreadful), to my ears, the band’s sound reminds me much more of Baby Alpaca’s latest single as there’s a tension between the sparseness of the song’s arrangement and Margrét Rán’s plaintive and urgent yearning.
The official video shows some beautiful couples in the throes of desire and yearning and it’s not only stunningly gorgeous, it’s fitting.