VAR is a Reykjavik-based post-rock collective that began in 2013 as the solo project of its founding member Júliús Óttar (vocals, guitar and piano) but shortly after its creation, Óttar realized that his vision couldn’t be fully realized without additional help. So he recruited those who were the closest to him — his wife Myrra Rós (synths, vocals), his brother Egil Björgvinsson (bass) and his friends Arnór Jónasson (guitar) and Adrni Freyr Þorgeirsson (drums). With that lineup, the act wrote and recored the Vetur EP — and over the course of the subsequent years, the band built up a fiercely loyal fanbase through relentless touring and live shows.
After the release of Vetur EP, the band went through a major lineup change. Ròs left the band as a result of competing professional and personal responsibilities and Sigurður Ingi Einarsson (drums) replaced Freyr — and as a result of a smaller lineup, a reimagining of the project’s sound was necessary. The Icelandic act’s latest album The Never Ending Year was released earlier this year through Spartan Records, and the album’s material may be the most ambitious and awe-inspiring of the act’s growing catalog.
Earlier this year, I wrote about “Moments.” a song featuring alternating arena rock friendly choruses centered around enormous power chords and intimate, shoegazer-lke verses with shimmering guitars and ethereal vocals that sonically brought the wide-screen, cinematic quality of Sigur Ros with the intensity and the arena rock friendly sound of Foo Fighters to mind. The Never Ending Year’s latest single “Run” continues a run of infectious and swooning anthems centered around enormous power chord-driven riffs, ethereal vocals, thunderous drumming and some swooningly earnest songwriting. But interestingly, I think “Run” may be the most straightforward shoegazer-like track of the entire album.
The recently released video for “Run” manages to adhere to our current COVID-19 pandemic related social distancing guidelines as we see each of the band’s members performing the song in a enormous and very sunny house, which reveals some of their homeland’s stunning terrain and a gorgeous sunset.